Despite the high incidence of COVID-19 cases and lack of medical equipment, the mullahs’ regime does not even pay minimum salaries for nurses, doctors, or other medical staff
20,000 nurses in Iran have been infected with the Coronavirus
No salaries for nurses in Iran despite explosive spread of the Coronavirus
“We repeatedly warn people to avoid unnecessary traffic, but the government and the Ministry of Education bring people to the streets anyway” (The state-run Jahan San’at newspaper – September 26, 2020).
The above remarks were made by Minoo Mohraz, a member of the National Coronavirus Combat Task Force. These statements accurately reflect the regime’s policy of using a new wave of casualties to remain in power and counter angry and dissatisfied citizens’ protests.
Mohraz’s statements acknowledge the direct role played by the highest officials of the mullahs’ regime in the exponential increase in illnesses and deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran. The statements also explain why virtually no budget has been allocated to provide hospitals with the necessary medicines and equipment to deal with the virus.
Moreover, the statements highlight the fact that Iranian nurses, doctors, and other medical staff – who risk their lives and families, day and night to save the sick – are not only not supported, but are not even paid their base salaries.
This article examines nurses’ and medical staff’s living conditions and health in the context of the Coronavirus “explosion” in Iran.
Record number of COVID-19-related deaths relative to population
According to information and statistics collected by the Iranian resistance, the number of Coronavirus victims in Iran has exceeded 114,000. The mullahs’ regime ranks first globally in killings and executions; now it can also boast first place in COVID-19-related deaths relative to the population.
The regime has thus far refused to provide transparent statistics, and those that are provided do not reflect the reality on the ground. However, the reality of the Coronavirus outbreak in Iran is so harsh that regime officials can no longer deny it.
For example, Iraj Haririchi, the regime’s Deputy Health Minister, called the Ministry of Health’s provincial COVID color-coding system meaningless, declaring, “We do not have orange and yellow; the whole country is in red” (State television – September 18, 2020).
Minoo Mohraz also confessed, “We can no longer talk about a first or third wave. Unfortunately, the country is constantly on the Coronavirus wave” (The state-run Jahan San’at newspaper – September 26, 2020).
“The Coronavirus is like a time bomb that can explode at any moment and destroy all infrastructure,” she says in another comment (The state-run Javan newspaper – September 20, 2020).
Nurses and medical staff pay the price for government corruption
The wealth accumulated by institutions controlled by Ali Khamenei, the mullahs’ supreme leader, is estimated at $1 Trillion. These include charitable institutions whose duty is to help the poor and needy, such as Mostaz’afan Foundation and the Imam’s Aid Committee. However, to this day, they have failed to provide any donations for the provision of healthcare needs or equipment, nor have they provided any sort of financial assistance that could relieve the needy from being forced to work.
In March 2020, the regime approved €1 Billion from the foreign exchange reserves in the National Development Fund, to be allocated to the Ministry of Health and the Corona project. However, according to the Minister of Health, his deputy, and several other regime officials, less than a third of that amount has been disbursed to the Ministry of Health.
Therefore, the Ministry of Health is not able to provide the necessary equipment or facilities for hospitals, nor is it able to pay the salaries for nurses and doctors. Meanwhile, many medical personnel in Iran have died from the Coronavirus; thousands more have been infected with the deadly virus.
The regime’s Health Minister, Saeed Namaki, acknowledged that in recent months, medical personnel had tried to get the spread of infection under control, but that they were “empty-handed.” “No matter how much we beg and shout that the Coronavirus cannot be restrained without special assistance, no one believes it,” he posted on his Instagram account (The state-run Alef.ir – September 23, 2020).
Healthcare system precarious amid looming national catastrophe
The situation in Iran has reached the point at which a significant number of regime officials have been forced to admit to the critical state of the country’s healthcare system. The president of Qom University of Medical Sciences warned, “The resilience of the healthcare system is at stake” (The state-run Khabar Fori – September 14, 2020).
The governor of Alborz Province recently said, “The high volume of patients has affected the endurance and strength of the healthcare staff” (The state-run Mehr News Agency- September 26, 2020).
“Hospitals no longer have empty beds. In many hospitals, patients are placed in oxygen capsules in hallways or outdoors,” asserted Minoo Mohraz, a member of the National Coronavirus Combat Task Force (The state-run Jahan San’at newspaper – September 26, 2020).
She added, “The medical staff is suffering from weakness and fatigue, and if we continue on the same path, with the same procedures, the country will face a catastrophe.”
The head of Abadan University of Medical Sciences also issued a statement, saying, “The biggest problem is the lack of nursing staff; the number of nurses is small, and these nurses are tired due to the prolonged outbreak of the virus” (The state-run ISNA News Agency, September 12, 2020).
Unbelievable but true: seven months of grueling work with no salary
It is unbelievable but true: Nurses, doctors, and other medical staff in Iran do not receive their salaries despite their exhausting and risky work conditions.
This fact has been confirmed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Iraj Haririchi, who stated, “Patience and ability of doctors and nurses are limited. We are ashamed that our health personnel have not been paid their salaries or overtime wages for three or four months. Any staff who have been paid have received less than the minimum wage set by the Ministry of Labor” (State television – September 23, 2020).
Haririchi went on to say, “Personnel on the front lines in the fight against the Coronavirus are intubating patients who are experiencing shortness of breath. The medical personnel are exposing themselves to the Coronavirus. Now tell them, ‘you are on watch at the hospital. Bring your own lunch, bring your own dinner, and work hard all day.’”
Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, Secretary General of the House of Nursing of Iran says, “Part of the high daily mortality rate in Iran is due to nurses’ excessive fatigue… In the United States, a nurse is paid $4,000 to work 7 hours a day. During the Coronavirus outbreak, when they increased nurses’ shifts to 9 hours, the nurses’ error rates increased by 14 percent. Now compare that to nurses in Iranian hospitals, where they work at least 12 to 14 hours and earn about $120. We have nurses who do not go home during the week. They cannot see their children, their spouses, or parents. Apart from fatigue, it causes them mental crisis and depression” (The state-run Arman newspaper – September 17, 2020).
20,000 Iranian nurses infected with the Coronavirus
In recent weeks, state media have reported the deaths of more nurses and medical staff due to the Coronavirus. The names of several female nurses were published:
- Kobra Bagheri, ICU Nurse at Imam Hossein Hospital in Alborz Province (The state-run Rokna news agency – August 25, 2020)
- Fatemeh Shafieinejad, member of the medical staff at Sari Heart Hospital in the capital of Mazandaran province (The state-run Asr-e Iran website – September 12, 2020)
- Parisa Rafiei, a 27-year-old pregnant midwifery expert, from Sefiddasht Borujen Health Network (The state-run Mehr News Agency, September 14, 2020)
- Ozra Ebrahimi, Assistant Nurse in the Coronavirus section of Taleghani Hospital in Kermanshah (The state-run Asriran.ir – September 16, 2020)
- Zahra Ragbar, a member of the nursing staff at the Persian Gulf Educational and Medical Center, Bushehr Kermanshah (The state-run Asriran.ir – September 27, 2020)
- Mina Barkhordari, 28, nurse in Qa’em Hospital of Karaj, October 1, 2020
Three months ago, officials and agents of the mullahs’ regime said that at least 15,000 medical personnel had been diagnosed with the Coronavirus (State television – June 29, 2020).
“Most of our residents and colleagues have been infected, and 164 doctors and nurses have died,” announced Masoud Mardani, a member of the Scientific Committee of the National Coronavirus Combat Task Force (The state-run Mehr News Agency, September 23, 2020).
The head of the ICU of Imam Reza Hospital in Mashhad said, “Since the outbreak of the virus, one-third of the medical staff have become infected…the medical staff are very tired due to the high workload, and it is not possible to replace them” (The state-run ILNA News Agency, September 20, 2020).
According to doctors and nurses in Firoozgar Hospital in Tehran, 60 to 70 nurses are being infected with COVID-19 every month, and when their illness ends, they can no longer work (September 27, 2020).
In a statement dated September 30, 2020, the Iranian Nursing Organization announced that out of a total of 110,000 nurses in Iran, 20,000 have been infected with the Coronavirus.
Killing people through the Coronavirus is a crime against humanity
A catastrophic situation is developing quickly due to the increase in the number of Coronavirus infections. The reopening of schools and the resumption of work has contributed to this crisis. However, the lack of adequate equipment and the sheer exhaustion on the part of nurses and doctors are accelerating the disaster.
Leaders and officials from the mullahs’ regime are directly responsible for the increase in deaths and infections from the Coronavirus, specifically Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani, who not only do nothing to help the situation, but adopt policies that specifically make people more and more susceptible to infection. Their objective: to prolong the tenure of regime’s disgraceful and despised authoritarian rule.
Shadmehr, a member of regime’s parliament, summarized the situation, saying, “Officials have learned to blame people for everything… How long will people on the verge of death have to wait for the ICU to be emptied? How much of an oxygen supply did they provide? People died of lack of oxygen… How many shelters or tents did they provide for the poor? How many free masks did they give out? How much disinfectant did they give to the deprived and weak? People cannot even afford to buy a mask …They seem to have sworn to kill all the people!”