Iranian Ex-President Ahmadinejad Demands WHO ‘Identify Lab That Produced’ Chinese Virus

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (bottom) and former Iranian Vice President Hamid Baghaei (top) look on at the Interior Ministry's election headquarters as candidates begin to sign up for the upcoming presidential elections in Tehran on April 12, 2017. Ahmadinejad had previously said he would not stand after being advised …
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday demanding that WHO allocate resources immediately to find “the lab that produced, and the elements that spread” the Wuhan coronavirus, “as well as other centers that supported the biologic [sic] war.” 

“Needless to say that transparent, public, and unbiased dissemination of information regarding the perpetrators of the anti-human crime is an important factor in controlling the anti-human weapon,” Ahmadinejad wrote.

“I have no doubts that with the public mobilization of the nations and governments, and the human society, the criminals will be isolated and this will immune [sic] the humans from the ill-wishers of transgression and hegemony,” he said.

Ahmadinejad wanted “those perpetrating a biologic war on nations” to be held accountable for the “heavy damage and costs” they have inflicted upon Iran “despite the sacrificial efforts of its medical, healthcare, and logistic staff in fighting the very wild and invasive phenomenon.”

Ahmadinejad became Iran’s president in 2005, won re-election in 2009, and was replaced by current President Hassan Rouhani in 2013. He tried to run for the presidency again in 2017 but was disqualified by the Guardian Council, a group of senior Iranian clerics that reviews all candidates for public office and disqualifies many of them before anyone gets to vote.

Ahmadinejad was identified by several of the Americans held hostage at the U.S. embassy in 1979 as one of their captors. 

He has developed a lively social media presence since he was blocked from running for president again, hectoring both domestic adversaries and foreign targets, and has even tried to reinvent himself as something of a human-rights gadfly, as evidenced in his bizarre letter to WHO.

Some active Iranian officials, notably including leaders in the theocratically-controlled Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have promoted conspiracy theories about the coronavirus being an American biological weapon deployed against China, or that the Chinese strain of the virus was weaponized by Israel and then deliberately spread through Iran.

WHO Director-General Tedros said on Monday he believes the coronavirus could be “the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.” He noted that it is an “uneven epidemic,” with 93 percent of its cases grouped into four countries, one of which is Iran.

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