In the days since President Donald Trump was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and subsequently transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), one Tehran-based sociology professor has taken to social media to depict the “two groups” of Iranians “praying” for the infected commander in chief.
“It is not surprising that Donald Trump has been hospitalized for coronavirus; anyone, including the president of any country, can get sick. But it is very strange that those in Iran, among the people whose lives have suffered the most since Trump’s presidency, wish him well,” wrote Mohammad Fazeli, an Iranian sociologist and assistant professor at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, who is also reported to serve as an advisor to the Iranian Minister of Energy and is the deputy director of the Research Center of the Presidential Office, in an Instagram post over the weekend. “I have seen people wishing Trump was released from the hospital safe and sound since morning.”
In his post, Fazeli depicted two distinct groups of Iranians turning to divine intervention to propel the president’s recovery.
“The first group of Trump praying people are often ordinary people who think that although the Trump presidency and the return of sanctions and maximum pressure have caused terrible damage to the Iranian economy and made life difficult for the people, there is no hope for reform inside,” he explained. “Except for external pressure. The economic fundamentals, rethinking governance practices, and turning away from wrong paths.”
As for the second group of “Trump health praisers,” Fazeli characterized them as Iranians “who think that his possible death from Corona will increase Joe Biden’s chances of victory, and the opening up of the economic situation and even the psychological impact of this victory will improve the situation of Hassan Rouhani’s administration, and this is not what they like.
“This situation raises a big question for our rulers. The rulers should think about what they have done to bring the first group of worshippers to the point where they hope to exert pressure from their enemies in order to find an opening in their present life and future prospects,” Fazeli surmised. “The second group of Trump health advocates is afraid that his death will lead to an opening in the government and improve its image.”
Fazeli furthermore urged Tehran to examine why some “ordinary Iranians” had reached such a desperate point that for a more fruitful quality of life, that they had to indue their aspirations in pressure from their enemy.
According to Mardo Soghom, editor at Iran International T.V., while there is some “danger” to Fazeli’s speaking out about fellow countrymen and women backing the U.S. leader, it is far more tenuous for these “ordinary Iranians” to speak ill of their own regime through means of social media or adverse media outlets.
And the overall sentiment Iranians have with regards to the forthcoming U.S. election is murky. While many are suffering tremendously under the weight of economic collapse and are beleaguered even more as a result of the coronavirus onslaught this year, some point fingers at the U.S-imposed sanctions, while others peg the blame squarely at their own hardline leadership.
“There are very few polls in Iran. One that incidentally came out today (Monday) shows that 56 percent believe that Trump will win, but when asked if they want him to win, only 16 percent say yes,” Sogham added. “This is because of self-censorship. People do not trust any strangers in Iran, including pollsters.”