Information leaked to the BBC reveals that the Iranian government’s daily reports on the damage caused by the coronavirus have been “significantly lower” than the real situation in the Islamic Republic, which means they were fudged (Coronavirus: Iran cover-up of deaths revealed by data leak).
The data that was sent to the BBC by an anonymous source includes details of daily hospital admissions across Iran, including dates, names, age, sex, symptoms, length of hospital stays, and the patients’ condition. According to the BBC, the leaked details match those known living and dead patients.
Also according to the BBC, the discrepancy between the official figures and the number of deaths on the leaked records match the calculations of excess mortality as late as mid-June, meaning the number of deaths above what would be expected without the pandemic.
According to the leaked data, Tehran has the highest number of deaths: 8,120. The much smaller city of Qom, initially the epicenter of the pandemic in Iran, was hit worse than the capital, at a rate of one dead per 1,000, amounting to 1,419 deaths. It appears that 1,916 non-Iranian nationals have died across the country.
Doctors with direct knowledge of Iran’s public health system have told the BBC that the Iranian health ministry is under pressure from security and intelligence organizations to keep the figures on pandemic-related deaths low. One source said: “Initially they did not have testing kits and when they got them, they weren’t used widely enough. The position of the security services was not to admit to the existence of coronavirus in Iran.”
The BBC report believes the reason for the cover-up originally had to do with the start of the outbreak coinciding with the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and parliamentary elections. In fact, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the time blamed the pandemic on elements that wanted to use the coronavirus to undermine the election – which ended up with an abysmal turnout.
Meanwhile, the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran announced on Sunday that the coronavirus death toll in 347 cities across Iran had passed 81,400.
According to them, the real number of victims in Tehran is 20,250, in Khorasan Razavi 6,108, Mazandaran 3,775, Isfahan 3,698, Gilan 3,430, Fars 2,130, Kermanshah 1,975, Kerman 1,210, Semnan 1,020, Ardabil 927, Central Province 895, Zanjan 760, Ilam 645, and South Khorasan 321.
Meanwhile, the official numbers provided by Iran’s health authorities is 309,437 cases, with 17,190 deaths.
Iran’s Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Lari on Sunday told the press that 1,423 the new confirmed cases have been hospitalized and 208 people died of the disease in the past 24 hours.