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Koroush Holakoui Naini, statistics and epidemiology professor at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said in an interview with the IRGC-affiliated Javan newspaper that the real death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran has been vastly underreported by the government. Last October, deputy health minister Iraj Haririchi stated that the actual number of deaths was twice the official figure, which includes only those tested for the coronavirus. That same month, Medical Council member Hossein Qeshlaqi said that the real number of COVID deaths was three to four times higher than the government’s count.

In the Javan interview, Holakoui Naini noted that “100,000 deaths is the official figure. Even Health Ministry officials say the real numbers are two or three times that, and I say that, in certain areas, the numbers are as much as seven times higher” than officially reported. Discussing how this could be proven, he said that the government data has been “engineered in such a way that it became impossible to prove anything with documents.” He pointed to the fact that “you have Dr. Zali saying that we told lies to the WHO.”

Alireza Zali, chief of Greater Tehran’s coronavirus response task force, said two weeks ago that Iran “hid mortality statistics” from the World Health Organization.

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