Dozens of Afghan migrants are feared dead after Iranian border guards allegedly forced them into a river on the Iran-Afghan border on May 1. Of the 57 men and boys in the group, only 12 are known to have survived. One of the survivors told the France 24 Observers he and the others were arrested and tortured by guards from an Iranian border post overlooking the Harirud river.
People across Iran have been shocked by grisly videos posted online in mid-April that show chicken farmers burying thousands of baby chicks alive. While the videos led to a massive outcry, one farmer told me why the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 left many of his fellow farmers with no choice.
Iran, like many other countries hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, has closed schools and universities and prioritized online learning. But in a country where there is widespread poverty and some regions have no internet coverage at all, some students are locked out of virtual classrooms.
During a live briefing on Instagram April 14, Iran’s health minister, Saeed Namaki, showed a photo he said was of an Iranian nurse with sores on her face from wearing masks all day long.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran, many Iranians have criticized how religious authorities have handled the crisis. Some blame the country’s ayatollahs – high-ranking Islamic clerics – for not only blocking necessary health measures but also promoting traditional Islamic medicine, which has already cost lives.
As Iran’s official death toll from the COVID-19 virus climbs to 1,812, doctors and nurses battling the virus around the country say they are at risk of infection because they lack basic equipment like masks and full-coverage protective suits.
According to official numbers announced by Iran’s government – 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 11, with 354 deaths – Iran is the third-hardest-hit country in the world, after China and Italy. But regional officials are reporting higher rates in their own areas, and publicly questioning the statistics being announced by the Health Ministry. Medical staff in Iran told me that hospital administrators have instructed doctors treating patients who die from the coronavirus to list other causes – such as pneumonia and pulmonary embolism – on official death reports. The first signs of an epidemic in Iran, like in China, emerged on social networks. Doctors in the holy city of Qom in mid-February noted an uptick in patients with severe pulmonary problems. As early as February 2, Iranians were posting videos of medical workers in protective suits escorting patients, asking whether the coronavirus had arrived in Iran. Iranian officials initially denied the virus had reached Iran. Some hardliner activists denounced “rumors” about the coronavirus, saying they were part of a plot by opposition groups …
Between November 15 and 18, hundreds of people were killed in Iran when the government cracked down on protests that had been sparked by a hike in petrol prices.
The sudden announcement by Iran’s government on November 15 of gasoline (petrol) price hikes of as much as 300 percent has led to days of protests across the country – and violent repression by its security services. While no official tolls have been announced, reports suggest dozens of protesters have been killed and hundreds of buildings been burned: banks, gas stations, police stations and other governmental buildings. Our Observers were able to send information before a near-complete ban on foreign internet traffic was put in place on November 17.
A video broadcast on Iranian television claims to show a drone flying over a United States aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Some of the footage is false, and some are out of context. The FRANCE 24 Observers team analyzed the video and separated fact from fiction.