Given the Iranian regime's recent history of brazenly lying to the public despite its obvious culpability, we were certainly intrigued when a local lawmaker in Qom told reporters that at least 50 people had died from the coronavirus in his city alone.
Iranian authorities denied these reports, claiming the lawmaker had no way to prove whether certain individuals had died of the virus, or some other cause.
Then on Friday, they raised the death toll to 34, which is slightly more modest, if still atrocious by international standards.
Now, a team of journalists working for BBC Persia (which we didn't realize was a thing until now) have reportedly confirmed at least 210 virus-linked deaths in Iran after canvassing workers at dozens of hospitals around the country.
The story is written in Farsi, and Google's "translate" function isn't super helpful in converting the script. But judging by the quantity of text, the report appears to be relatively short and too the point.
The outbreak is the latest in a series of disasters that the regime has been battling since President Trump reimposed sanctions on its oil trade. These include, but are not limited to: Accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane, and allowing some of its top government officials to be exposed and infected by the coronavirus.
At least 210 #coronavirus patients have died in #Iran, sources in the health care system told @BBCNews Persian. The figure, as of Thu PM, is way above the official figure of 34. Iran has defended its response to the virus spread and denied it is withholding information.— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) February 28, 2020
Cities across Iran cancelled Friday prayers this week, an extremely rare occurrence which rarely, if ever, happens. As Iran's neighbors close their doors to the burgeoning outbreak, some experts are estimating that the total number of cases in the country could be closer to 10,000, much higher than the fewer than 400 cases on the 'official' rolls.