During a Tuesday press briefing on the ongoing coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump warned that the U.S. is in for “a very painful two weeks,” according to Fox News. “Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried,” he added.
And as difficult as things are for Americans, a report from Breitbart suggests the situation in Iran is far dire. COVID-19 is hitting the Islamic Republic hard, according to the outlet, and some reports even say the actual number of deaths there from the disease far exceeds the official totals.
Breitbart’s Tuesday report referred to a grim article from al-Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news agency based in Dubai. Al-Arabiya claimed that some 17 government officials in Iran have succumbed to the deadly virus, while another 13 are struggling to survive.
“The Saudi outlet claims to have gotten the numbers by compiling reports from Iranian state media on individual officials who have been confirmed as carriers,” Breitbart reported.
Some of the coronavirus victims had “publicly blamed the United States for the virus before their demise,” Breitbart added.
Al-Arabiya reports that Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi is one of those still alive, according to Breitbart. Harirchi made headlines in late February when he began showing coronavirus symptoms during a televised broadcast.
Life and death
For its part, the Iranian government had documented just over 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon; however, Breitbart noted Tuesday that this number is a matter of contention. According to the outlet:
[M]any observers – including local Iranian officials – have disputed this number, most simply by noting that adding up the number of cases and deaths recorded by each Iranian region results in a much larger number than the one documented by the federal government.
Specifically, Breitbart pointed to estimates made by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the Islamic Republic’s largest dissident organization. On its website, the group alleged an Iranian death toll of over 15,000 — an estimate that matches a World Health Organization (WHO) prediction covered by Radio Farda, the Persian wing for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Radio Farda also asserts that the Iranian regime is excluding cases and deaths in some of its largest population centers.
“The government has so far only published the figures selectively and never included the death toll in Qom and Tehran provinces in its reports, presumably due to concerns about national security,” a Monday report from the network reads.
Only time will tell if we ever learn the truth about the death toll from the coronavirus in Iran. In the meantime, U.S. health officials are working around the clock to ensure America doesn’t suffer the same fate.
“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” President Trump said at his Tuesday presser, according to Fox. “It’s a matter of life and death.”