A BBC Persian investigation has found that the number of deaths from the Corona epidemic in Iran is three times what the Iranian government claims.
Private government records appear to show that about 42,000 people died as a result of “Covid-19” symptoms as of July 20, compared to 14,405 people officially reported to the Ministry of Health.
The number of people known to be infected is also twice the official figures: 451,024 compared to 278,827.
Iran was one of the most affected countries after China with the Corona virus. In recent weeks, Iran has experienced a second sharp increase in the number of cases.
The first death in Iran from “Covid-19” was reported on January 22, according to the BBC’s medical records and records.
This was about a month before the first official infection with the Corona virus was reported there.
Since the virus spread in Iran, many observers have questioned official figures. There were data irregularities between the national and regional ratios reported by some local authorities, and statisticians tried to provide alternative estimates.
A level of number reduction appears around the world, largely due to the ability to provide and use tests, but information leaked to the BBC reveals that the Iranian authorities have reported significantly fewer daily numbers despite a record of all deaths – This indicates that it was deliberately kept secret.
“Highlight the truth”
The data was sent to “BBC” by an unknown source.
It includes details about the daily admission of injured patients to hospitals throughout Iran, including names, age, gender, symptoms, date and duration of periods a person spent in hospital and the underlying diseases that patients may suffer from.
The source says he shared this data with the BBC, “to shed light on the truth” and end “political games” on the epidemic.
The BBC cannot verify whether this source works for an Iranian government agency, or determine the means by which it can access this data.
But the details in the menus correspond to those of some of the living and deceased patients already known to the BBC.
The discrepancy between the official numbers and the number of deaths in these records also coincides with the difference between the official number and the excess death accounts until mid-June.
Excess deaths indicate the number of deaths exceeding what is expected in “normal” conditions.
What does the data reveal?
Tehran, the capital, has the largest number of deaths with 8,120 people who died as a result of “Covid-19” or similar symptoms.
The city of Qom is the most affected, with 1,419 deaths – one death rate due to “Covid-19” per thousand people in the population.
It should be noted that throughout the country, there were 1,916 non-Iranian deaths.
This indicates a disproportionate number of deaths among migrants and refugees, most of them from neighboring Afghanistan.
The general trend of injuries and deaths in the leaked data is similar to official reports, albeit different in size. The underlying death toll is steeper than the Ministry of Health figures, and by mid-March it was five times more than the official number.
Closures were imposed during Nowruz (Iranian New Year) holiday at the end of the third week in March, and there was a corresponding decrease in injuries and deaths.
But as government restrictions eased, cases and deaths began to rise again after late May.
Crucially, the first recorded deaths on the leaked list occurred on January 22, a month before the first official infection with the Corona virus was reported in Iran.
At the time, Ministry of Health officials were determined to admit only one infection from the Corona virus in the country, despite reports from journalists inside Iran and warnings from various medical professionals.
Within 28 days until the first official confession on February 19, 52 people had already died.
Doctors with first-hand knowledge of this matter told BBC that the Iranian Ministry of Health came under pressure from the security and intelligence services inside Iran.
Dr. Bulady (not his real name) told BBC that the ministry was “in denial.”
“Initially, they did not have the necessary tests to detect the infection and when they got it, it was not used widely enough. The position of the security services was not to recognize the presence of the Corona virus in Iran.”
But it was the insistence of two brothers, two doctors from Qom, that forced the Ministry of Health to recognize the first official case.
When Dr. Mohamed Moulay and Dr. Ali Moulay lost their brother, they insisted that he should still be subjected to the Corona test, which turned out to be positive.
At Kamkar Hospital where their brother died, many patients with symptoms similar to “Covid-19” were admitted and did not respond to usual treatments.
However, none of them were tested for the disease.
Dr. Moulay released a video of his late brother with a statement. Then the Ministry of Health finally recognized the first recorded case.
However, state television published a report criticizing the doctor and falsely claiming that his brother’s video was months old.
Why cover up?
The start of the outbreak coincided with the memory of the Islamic Revolution (1979) and the parliamentary elections.
This represented two great opportunities for the Islamic Republic to show its popular support and not to risk being harmed by the virus.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused some of wanting to use the Corona virus to undermine the elections.
In this case, the rate of participation in the elections was very low before the outbreak of the global epidemic of Corona, Iran was already suffering from a series of crises.
In November 2018, the government raised the price of gasoline overnight and violently suppressed the protests that followed. Hundreds of protesters were killed in a few days.
In January this year, the Iranian response to the assassination of the United States by the great Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who is seen as one of the most powerful figures in Iran after its Supreme Leader, created another problem.
Then, the Iranian armed forces – on high alert – accidentally fired missiles at a Ukrainian plane, just minutes after taking off from Tehran International Airport. All of the 176 people on board were killed.
The Iranian authorities initially tried to cover up what had happened, but after three days they were forced to confess to it, which led to a major loss of face.
Dr. Noureddine Birmazen, the former deputy who was also in charge of the Ministry of Health, told BBC News in this context that the Iranian government is “concerned and afraid of the truth” when the Coruna virus struck Iran.
He said: “The government is afraid of the poor and the unemployed taking to the streets.” Dr. Bayraman mentions the fact that Iran prevented the International Health Organization “Doctors Without Borders” from treating cases of the Corona virus in central Isfahan province as evidence of its security awareness of its approach to the epidemic.
Iran was going through difficult times even before a military confrontation with the United States and the Coruna virus.
The sanctions that followed Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the May 2018 nuclear deal severely affected the economy. Dr. Bulady says: “Those who have brought the country to this point are not paying the price.
It is the poor of the country and my poor patients who pay the price for their lives. ”“ In the confrontation between the governments of the United States and Iran, we are crushed under pressure from both sides. ”
The Ministry of Health said that the state reports to the World Health Organization on the number of HIV infections and deaths are “transparent” and “far from any deviations.”