A shipment of drugs, medical equipment and supplies sufficient to build an inflatable field hospital of fifty beds for patients with Covid-19 remains blocked, Tuesday, March 24 in the evening, in a hangar at Tehran airport then that the country continues to suffer the ravages of the epidemic. The Islamic Republic no longer wants the help of Médecins sans frontières (MSF) France, which had shipped by air to Iran from Bordeaux, Sunday and Monday, enough to set up this structure in Isfahan, the capital of one of the provinces most affected of the country.
At the time when the Iranian interior ministry had asked for the support of humanitarian actors already present in the country at the end of February, such as MSF, an adviser to the Iranian ministry of health in charge of digital communication to fight the epidemic, Alireza Vahabzadeh said on Monday March 23 on Twitter that the involvement of foreign forces was no longer desired. This sudden turnaround comes after several weeks of preparation in coordination with the Iranian authorities and when the country, which is one of the main world sources of the virus, has struggled to face a politicized health crisis since the first cases appeared.
"MSF teams should already be on the job in Isfahan", indicates a source close to the file: "The Tweet from the Ministry of Health put everything on hold …" The French NGO which has an office in Tehran where its staff are active in normal times, as well as in Machhad in the east of the country, however claims to have obtained upstream all the permits necessary for the establishment of this new operation. On Monday, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in France, Bahram Ghassemi even announced the start of the operation on the embassy’s Twitter account. However, the Iranian authorities informed MSF personnel that the operation was canceled the same evening. Contacted on this matter, the Iranian embassy in France declined to comment.
Back to conspiracy theories
The incoherence of the positions of the Islamic Republic in this affair would in fact reveal struggles for influence within the regime that the acute health crisis the country is going through was not enough to silence and which French aid workers would have made expenses. "The MSF mission in Iran echoes a strategy of health diplomacy led by the President of the Islamic Republic Hassan Rohani and his Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammad-Javad Zarif", advances thus a fine connoisseur of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic. These are the two responsible "Moderate" respond by past partnerships with foreign powers to Washington’s economic sanctions against Iran. These are considered to be a major contributor to Tehran’s difficulties with the epidemic.