Iran’s Supreme leader has ordered the armed forces to take responsibility for the epidemic of the coronavirus, citing the likelihood that the epidemic was a “biological attack“and the potential need for “biological protection“.
A written order from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday called for the armed forces to establish a military base for health care and preventive measures to stop the spread of the disease in Iran, which now has one of the worst outbreaks in the world.
Satellite photos show the excavation of mass graves in Qom, the Holy city, where there was an outbreak of the coronavirus.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani’s struggled in trying to contain the spread and has been criticized for having managed the crisis, which was hidden in secret from the public. Mobilization of the armed forces, Mr. Khamenei, who commands the armed forces, means an acknowledgement that the initial response was incorrect and wrong.
On Thursday, the government of Iran reported that a new virus had infected 10 750 people and claimed more than 429 lives. However, according to the estimates of local governors and health officials in 30 provinces, the death toll is close to 800, according to BBC Persian.
At least 30 officers, including Vice presidents, Cabinet Ministers and members of Parliament have been infected, including members of the entourage of Mr. Khamenei. As reported by Iranian state media, chief foreign policy adviser to the Supreme leader and his chief accountant were positive.