In comments on Saturday, Iran’s Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima-Sadat Lari expressed regret that BBC Persian has tried to create ambiguity by quoting “unnamed” sources, using phrases like “it seems”, and applying an unscientific methodology.
“Iran decisively pursue the scientific path approved by the World Health Organization [in reporting the COVID-19 statistics],” she clarified.
She also strongly recommended that “individuals and media outlets refrain from commenting on scientific issues with political motivations.”
Her comments came after BBC Persian cited a list of medical data it claims to have received from “an unnamed source working with Iran’s government”, and alleged that the real number of COVID-19 cases in Iran was more than 450,000 and the tally stood at 42,000 by July 21.
This comes as the official number of COVID-19 cases reported by the Health Ministry on July 21 was 278,827 and the death toll was 14,634 (almost one-third of the figure cited by BBC).
“Had we sought to conceal the truth, we could act like many countries including Europeans and report the first cases several weeks later, or hide the second wave of the outbreak as many countries did because of political and often economic reservations. However, we acted in a totally transparent way,” Lari said.
She noted that Iran has been as transparent as possible in reporting the real aspects of the pandemic, and was one of the first countries in the world to announce its first coronavirus cases despite being one of the last countries in the northern hemisphere to be affected by the virus.
Also in recent weeks, she said, Iran has declared its being affected by the second wave of the outbreak earlier than many other countries without any political or economic consideration.
She finally advised British media to focus instead on tens of reports released so far on the ambiguities in the UK government’s COVID-19 figures, particularly the real death toll in the country’s care homes.
Lari also called on BBC to cover the official statistics of certain regional countries which “have not even reported 10 percent of their COVID-19 deaths.”