On Sunday, 22 March 2020, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the leading international medical humanitarian organization, announced that it had sent a 50-bed inflatable hospital and an emergency team of nine people to Isfahan, the second-worst affected province in Iran, to increase hospital capacity for treating patients critically ill from coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19.
Furthermore, on Monday, the Iranian Embassy in France boldly tweeted that a “second shipment of MSF aid has left Bordeaux for Tehran today.”
Yet on Tuesday, the Tehran leadership rejected the help while repeating a whirlwind of conspiracies that the France-based NGO was part of a broader spy network and scheming to expel aid from the crippled country.
Iran’s abrupt decision on MSF came only two days after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast serious doubt on US offers to help battle the outbreak. Khamenei renewed accusations that the epidemic could be some biological war waged by the US government and that any mission by US doctors in Iran could be for an assessment of the “impact of the poison” on the ground rather than for sincere help.
MSF has been responding to emergencies in Iran for nearly 30 years; they began working in Iran in 1991 and, since that time, they have responded to several emergencies, including in 2003 after the earthquake that struck Bam.
MSF also responded in 2019 when flooding hit several of the country’s provinces, including Lorestan, Golestan and Khuzestan.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSF teams are currently responding in Italy, supporting three hospitals in the most affected areas in the country's north. In France and Belgium, they are supporting efforts to detect and manage COVID-19 cases among vulnerable populations such as homeless people, migrants and unaccompanied minors. In Spain, MSF is collaborating with authorities in order to increase case management capacities.
We condemn Iran's Expulsion Of Coronavirus Medical Team, and request your urgent action to urge Iranian government to change this dangerous and irresponsible decision. This expulsion could result in illness and death of thousands of desperate Iranians.
The Condemnation of Iran's Expulsion Of Coronavirus Medical Team petition to WHO Director-General was written by Mehran Rafiei and is in the category Health at GoPetition.