As if Iran wasn’t having enough problems during the pandemic already. They were among the slowest to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak and they continued to allow regular flights to and from China until only recently. The percapita death toll in their nation was among the highest in the world and most average citizens couldn’t expect much help or relief from their corrupt government. And now, to top it all off, a rumor has been going around that drinking methanol (commonly known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol) can stave off the virus or even cure COVID-19. The result? More than 700 people have died from methyl alcohol poisoning, and those are only the numbers that the government is willing to admit to. (Associated Press)

The false belief that toxic methanol cures the coronavirus has seen over 700 people killed in Iran, an official said Monday.

That represents a higher death toll than so far released by the Iranian Health Ministry.

An adviser to the ministry, Hossein Hassanian, said that the difference in death tallies is because some alcohol poisoning victims died outside of hospital.

“Some 200 people died outside of hospitals”, Hassanian told The Associated Press.

At least according to their official numbers, 728 Iranians died from drinking this poisonous product during the 46 days between Feb. 20 and April 7. That’s vastly more than in previous periods, but such incidents weren’t unknown. Last year, before anyone had begun talking about the novel coronavirus, 66 Iranians died from methanol poisoning. What were they thinking?

Of course, the same crazy practices have been seen in the United States. Back during the great depression and the prohibition era, people would take cans of Sterno (composed mostly of methanol) and strain it through bread in the belief that it would be less toxic. The resulting drink was referred to as “squeeze” and many people either went completely blind from it or simply died.

If the Iranian government has been making any effort to let people know not to do this, they clearly haven’t been very effective in the job. I don’t know how surprised we should be by that news, though. After all, their government has already been found to have stolen literally a billion euros worth of aid and medical supplies that were intended for the citizens of Iran. Government officials have been found stealing personal protective medical equipment and then selling it on the black market to make a profit.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government announced today that they had found more than one thousand new cases of infection and recorded 71 additional deaths. That brings the official tally to 5,877 but, as I mentioned above, that’s only the numbers that Iran is willing to publicly release. It’s suspected that the real figures are far higher, but the Mullahs are downplaying them to make it seem as if their response hasn’t been such an unmitigated disaster.

They’re still trying to distract everyone from this catastrophe however they can. Most recently, they launched a new military satellite over the objections of both the United States and Israel. You know, rumor has it that the Pentagon’s nifty new secret military space shuttle has anti-satellite weapons on it. Maybe it’s time for them to get some real-world target practice in.