The organizer of the Iranian regime’s contest of caricatures trivializing the Nazi Holocaust has seized on a new theme — promoting the conspiracy theory that the US is behind the coronavirus pandemic.
Masoud Shojaei-Tabatabaei — an artist and veteran propagandist on behalf the Islamic Republic ‘s ruling clerics — told media outlets in Tehran on Wednesday that more than 2,000 submissions had been received from cartoonists in 68 countries for the regime’s “We Defeat Coronavirus” competition.
The accusation that the US deliberately unleashed coronavirus on an unsuspecting world and is now withholding medical and financial assistance to the same end appeared in many of the cartoons.
One entry showed a coronavirus missile being launched from the US with an accompanying note from US President Donald Trump that read, “To China and Iran, with my love.”
Another showed an Iranian man coughing while carrying a coronavirus microbe on his shoulder, as an enlarged hand draped in the American flag snatches vital medication away from behind his back.
Shojaei-Tabatabaei was the main organizer of the two contests staged by Iran in 2006 and 2016 showcasing cartoons that variously denied and mocked the Holocaust. More than 150 cartoons from the latter contest were exhibited at the headquarters of the Islamic Propaganda Organization in Tehran in May 2016.
“We held the Holocaust Contest to raise the question of why the Holocaust cannot be discussed in the West despite its claims of freedom of expression,” Shojaei-Tabatabaei explained at the time. He went on to praise the “pure nature” of the artists who submitted entries to the Holocaust cartoon contest, saying they were motivated by opposition to the “child-killing regime of Israel.”
Announcing the coronavirus contest this week, Shojaei-Tabatabai highlighted the fact that the call for submissions had attracted several entries from China — whose regime, like Iran’s, has been charged with having allowed the coronavirus to spread for several weeks before even acknowledging its existence.
The contest is being sponsored by Iran’s Ministry of Health, which earlier this week summarily ruled out any role for foreign organizations in dealing with the chronic outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
“Due to Iran’s national mobilization against the virus and the full use of the medical capacity of the armed forces, it is not necessary for now for hospital beds to be set up by foreign forces, and their presence is ruled out,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, adviser to Iran’s health minister, said on Tuesday.
The current number of coronavirus cases in Iran stands at over 27,000, amid widespread concern that the Tehran regime may be covering up an even greater public health crisis.