Thursday, February 27, 2020

Coronavirus appears to be spreading among Iranian elite

On Thursday, Iranian media reported that the country’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, had tested positive for the coronavirus, and The Washington Post suggested “infections appear to be rapidly spreading among the Iranian political elite.”

(Ebtekar is known to Americans from forty years ago, when she was a spokesperson for the young Iranians who seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The hostage crisis, in the early days of the Iranian revolution, was used by radical elements to solidify their grip on power and led to an enduring confrontation between Washington and Tehran.)

...Thursday’s announcements follow Tuesday’s news that Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, also had the disease. Just the day before, he gave a press conference, claiming that Iran had the coronavirus under control.

Graeme Wood, a contributing editor to The Atlantic, a highly-regarded US magazine, described the “incredible video” of the news conference, “at once comic and horrifying,” of Harirchi “assuring the public that the situation is being addressed, while sweating and coughing on colleagues and his audience because he had contracted the coronavirus.”...