UPDATE on an entire town in Iran’s Lordegan County, which was infected with HIV –
By The Free Iranian Staff
The entire county of Lordegan remains under martial law, garrisoned under a heavy IRGC presence. Tanks are stationed in the town squares, and armed checkpoints are imposed at every intersection. The Internet remains completely blocked, so news arriving out of the area is sparse. According to reports from people living nearby, many arrests are being made in Chenar Mahmoudi and the surrounding villages. Wounded protestors are even being dragged into jails from their hospital beds. The IRGC is also using videos of the previous days’ protests to identify those they wish to detain.
The IRGC raided the small village of Monjar Mui, after hearing that the residents of this 2,000-person village were planning a protest in support of their neighbors in Chenar Mahmoudi. Many people were arrested, but the exact number of them has not yet been determined.
The regime’s health minister, Saeed Namaki, again insulted the victims of the HIV infections, claiming that the protests of last week were, as the regime always claims protests are, a “foreign plot.” In addition, Namaki revealed that his Health Ministry had known about the spread of HIV in Chenar Mahmoudi for several months, but he kept the information about it a secret, in order “to protect the dignity of the people in the region,” he claimed. Namaki then repeated the statements that had originally motivated the protests, that the HIV outbreak was entirely due to the people of Lordegan being
Reports are also coming in that say that because of the notoriety about Chenar Mahmoudi, many people are refusing to buy crops from the farmers living in the area, for fear that they might somehow be contaminated. If it continues, this will make an already economically depressed region more impoverished.
Also, doctors there are now refusing to tell patients if they’ve tested positive for HIV.
The dangerous thing is government’s official order to laboratories & medical centers that they must hide the fact from the patient if they are infected with AIDS or HIV. This means that the infected person will spread the disease without being aware!#LordeganGenocide
— ➰آپرانیک➰ (@meehan1360) October 17, 2019
Meanwhile, people in Tehran are hanging posters in support of their compatriots in Lordegan.
— يوسف 👑 (@youssef_ghasmi) October 12, 2019
The World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office began holding its annual conference today in Tehran. Iranians noted the irony of the regime’s trying to uphold an image of itself as caring about public health, while refusing to take responsibility for the Lordegan HIV infections.
What “health promotion” means in the IR?
A regime that has hidden the HIV+/ AIDS cases leading to a cluster of infected people in #Lordegan.
To show our condemnation of @WHOEMRO to chose IR for its 66th session & in support of the sufferers there’ll be a Twitterstorm tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/IDqw6hLh11
— Violet (@Daffodil27) October 16, 2019
Iranians are also angered by the fact that, so far, the WHO has not issued any statement on the events in Lordegan, nor offered to investigate the situation or help the victims.
— ممدوو بابائی (@mamadou_babaei) October 17, 2019
— Nazan (@nazan_Taheri) October 17, 2019
Iranians in the diaspora abroad have been holding Tweet storms for the past two days to keep awareness of the Lordegan situation at the forefront of their compatriots’ minds, and also to try to get the attention of the WHO and other international health and medical organizations who are currently turning a blind eye to Chenar Mahmoudi.
دوستان، فاجعه #لردگان رو فراموش نکنیم!
پنجشنبه ساعت ۱۹ بوقت تهران، صدای دادخواهی هموطنانمون در لردگان خواهیم بود. هشتگ متعاقبا با شروع طوفان اعلام خواهد شد: pic.twitter.com/bqRdP1bmuJ
— Foruq Canaani (@FCanaani) October 17, 2019
Weeks r passing frm d catastrophes in Lordegan city,which is an absolute exmpl of applying biological weapon against innocent ppl,yet dey haven’t been helped by none of so called human rights agencies.W r requesting frm @WHOEMRO @WHO a detailed investigation on #LordeganGenocide
— Nasim👑 (@Nasim_zephyr) October 17, 2019
The protests that had simmered down boiled over again in Chenar Mahmoudi today, as infuriated residents went out into the streets to protest today. Being a Friday, the Islamic holy day and occasion for compulsory public prayer, made it easier for the crowds to assemble in the town square. As a show of anger towards the local health officials who haven’t yet taken any blame or shown or any sense of responsibility for the HIV outbreak, the people set the town’s health center on fire. They then pushed firefighters away who were trying to quench the blaze. Security forces tried to suppress the crowd, but they reacted by throwing stones at the police cars, and smashing them with sticks, forcing the troops to draw back.
IRGC anti-riot reinforcement forces flooded into the town in response, and imposed martial law and curfew, warning that anyone leaving their dwelling-place would be immediately arrested. One man, named Amir-Gholi, was detained in the evening. Angered residents are now planning a mass protest to endeavor to obtain his release.
Before any protest could begin, the IRGC made a series of raids in Chenar Mahmoudi this morning, arresting many people, particularly focusing on young people, who they presume to be leading the protests. One young man, who is HIV-positive, saw the IRGC forces coming to his door. Possessing a gun, he shot back at them, and was able to escape and flee the town.