Iran Guards commander promotes fake anti-bomb device as virus detector

Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami. (AFP)
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Updated 17 April 2020

Iran Guards commander promotes fake anti-bomb device as virus detector

  • Salami also claimed that the device had been tested at hospitals with an “80 percent” success rate

IRAN: The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been promoting what appears to be a notorious fake bomb-detecting device as a coronavirus detector. 

Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, who replaced Qassem Soleimani as head of Iran’s asymmetric warfare unit after his assassination by a US drone in Iraq in January, presented the device on state TV on Wednesday, claiming that it could detect COVID-19 “within seconds.”

The model shown is almost identical in appearance to the famously useless plastic and metal fake bomb-detecting device that was first sold by convicted British fraudster James McCormick to Iraqi security forces.

But despite years of useless service in bomb detection, Salami said the device was a “technological and scientific” innovation that was developed by Iran’s Basij militia.

“The antenna of this device can detect any spot infected with the virus within a 100-meter radius,” Salami added. “It detects the virus within five seconds.”

He said the device is superior to other COVID-19 tests because “there’s no need for taking blood. You can accomplish this from
a distance.”

Salami also claimed that the device had been tested at hospitals with an “80 percent” success rate.

Many independent researchers and news outlets have suggested that the government is covering up the true extent of the pandemic’s spread throughout the country.

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President Hassan Rouhani is under significant pressure from internal critics who say the current strategy has left the nation open to a second wave of COVID-19. 

“The revolutionary elite in Iran is deeply paranoid and prone to conspiracy theories, so the IRGC promoting the ‘magic wands’ that the Iraqi government has notoriously used as bomb detectors could reflect a completely genuine belief,” Kyle Orton, an independent terrorism researcher, told Arab News.

“There is, after all, no opposition permitted to the clerical regime to inform it when it’s making a mistake,” he said.

“More cynically, the promotion of a literally incredible test for COVID-19 could suggest that the struggle of Iran to maintain social order is even worse than it appears, and this is an attempt to provide reassurance and calm things down.”

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani is under significant pressure from internal critics who say the current strategy has left the nation open to a second wave of COVID-19. 

Rouhani, who relaxed social distancing rules in the face of grave financial concerns, has faced criticism from Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, Tehran’s city council chairman, who warned that restarting economic activity could lead to “a second wave of coronavirus.”


Egypt’s El-Sisi warns of instability after protest calls

Updated 27 September 2020

Egypt’s El-Sisi warns of instability after protest calls

  • El-Sisi thanked Egyptians for not heeding the calls, saying the government was undertaking the measures as part of reforms
  • The small-scale demonstrations come amid mounting anger against government campaigns to stop illegal construction

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi warned on Sunday against attempts to stoke instability in the country, following a recent spate of scattered and small-scale anti-government protests.
“Some people have been trying in recent weeks to take advantage of the tough measures we are taking,” El-Sisi said at a ceremony to inaugurate an oil refining complex north of Cairo.
“They choose the hard conditions to harm and cast doubts among Egyptians over what we do.”
Dozens of people took part in rare protests in recent days in several villages in Egypt, according to videos shared widely on social media, especially by sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood, an outlawed group.
The small-scale demonstrations come amid mounting anger, particularly in rural and low-income areas, against sweeping government campaigns to stop illegal construction, which have required people to pay fines to legalize home-ownership.
Exiled businessman Mohamed Ali, who has urged anti-El-Sisi protests since last year, has intensified his calls in recent weeks in online videos, calling on Egyptians take to the streets against the government.
During his speech, El-Sisi thanked Egyptians for not heeding the calls, saying the government was undertaking the measures as part of reforms.
On Saturday, family and medical sources said a man was killed in clashes between protesters and police in a village south of Cairo.