To many Iranians, the news that US President Donald Trump has the novel coronavirus is poetic justice.
Iranian officials, who are typically quick to react to bombshell stories, appear to have chosen cautious silence in the immediate raucous debates triggered by the announcement that US President Donald Trump had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Unsurprisingly, the officials have also avoided sending any warm thoughts or prayers for the leader of the country they have considered Iran’s number-one enemy for four decades.
However, Iranian media outlets, analysts and members of the public have reacted in messages largely about Trump’s “lesson” and how the virus affects those who underestimate it. “No one, absolutely no one, could be immune from COVID’s claws,” read an article from the conservative state-funded news agency Young Journalists Club.
London-based Reformist and former Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani offered a chronology of Trump’s actions before catching the virus, from his effort “to reduce the pandemic to the level of a ploy by Democrats” to his “ridicule” for the mask worn by his rival Joe Biden.
Veteran Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi wrote, “Perhaps the quarantine period will give him enough time to come to recognize the fact that life is too fragile and not worth all the hue and cry … and one’s health can be simply threatened with a microscopic virus. This could make him reconsider his behavior.”
There was also analysis of the obesity and age risk factors that could make the American president a critical case. Some outlets focused on how the news rattled the US stock market and how the situation could impact the American economy. There were also conspiracy theories that the entire episode is a “lie” to which Trump has resorted as a fresh populistic tactic to draw public sympathy at a critical moment to tilt the outcomes of the Nov. 3 polls.
As have been trending across American social media, edited pictures of Trump getting shots of disinfectants — ridicule of his own suggested remedies — also made the rounds on Iranian platforms.
Iran, the Middle East’s worst-hit country, announced another 187 coronavirus mortalities on Friday and an infected population now past 464,000. The country is currently experiencing a third wave of the pandemic, with extremely alarming rates in the capital Tehran, where hospitals are reaching capacity due to an influx of patients with severe symptoms.
From the early days of the outbreak in Iran, a large number of senior Iranian officials have been infected, from a deputy health minister to over two dozen lawmakers and powerful former parliament speaker Ali Larijani. The country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 81, has taken extreme precautions, delivering only televised speeches and attending no public events.
The US president’s infection was celebrated by some Iranian conservative media outlets that suggested karma was catching up to him and that Trump was paying the price for his order to kill top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
“In these chaotic days, Trump’s death is the only news that could make us feel better,” wrote one Iranian Twitter user, who was supported in a reply: “I don’t want him to die of the coronavirus. I’d rather to see him get killed in a drone or missile attack on his convoy,” the other user tweeted in an open reference to how Soleimani was hit outside Baghdad’s international airport in January.