Coronavirus, Iranian students and the Orbán regime’s friendship with the Islamic Republic

According to the Hungarian media currently there are 19 individuals infected with the coronavirus in Hungary. Nine of them are Iranians.  (Read more here in Hungarian.)

How did the Iranian coronavirus arrive to Hungary?  The answer will lie in Hungary’s foreign policy and its blossoming friendship with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iranian students protest in 2018 in front of the Iranian Embassy in Budapest against Teheran’s Human Rights abuses.

PM Orbán frequently talks in disparaging terms about Muslims in his speeches, mostly in Hungarian and primarily for domestic consumption. He talks about primitive hordes of Muslims invading Hungary from the East or about uneducated Muslims unable to accept western values.  Hungary should avoid these migrants because they are unable to integrate into European societies.

But when authoritarian Orbán travels to the Middle East his rhetoric changes dramatically.  In December 2015 he led a 120-member delegation to Teheran and upon arrival he expressed his admiration for the sophistication of the Islamic culture.  He assured his hosts that Hungary is a good friend of the great Islamic nation.  He did not mention that Iran is one of most oppressive regimes today; Human Rights organizations frequently criticise their policies and practices.

When Orbán met with President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian politician said “that the origin of terrorism lies in the big powers’ meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.”  So Rouhani accuses the United States of inciting terrorism in the region.  Orbán nodded and replied, “Unfortunately, there is no common and positive trend in the West to resolve regional issues through consultation and cooperation with major countries such as Iran.”

Three years later in May 2018, Iran was one of the first countries to congratulate Orbán on his reelection. Iranian first VP Es’hagh Jahangiri wrote that he was very satisfied with the increased cooperation between the two countries and hoped to cement further ties in other areas by implementing new agreements during Orbán’s new tenure.

Hungary and Iran have expanded their relations especially in higher education.  Orbán said that “Hungary definitely wishes to establish communication between Iranian and Hungarian youth.”   Today there are over 2,000 Iranian students living in Hungary; some of them on Hungary-paid scholarships.

Today Iran is one of the epicenters of the virus outbreak and it is suspected of covering up the full scope of the disease there.  Students frequently fly between Teheran and Budapest and it is now suspected that this travel may have introduced the novel coronavirus to Hungary.  According to Budapest media reports all infected Iranian students attended the same birthday party recently.

György Lázár

6 Comments

  1. Mr. Lázár if you read it like this, Orban caused the problem himself.

    Since Trump politicized the virus and calls Convid-19 Wuhang virus and Orban more or less invented the foreigner virus. So the thought comes up involuntarily, if the students were not in Hungary, Hungary would have no problem. The bridge to the inhuman system in Iran helps to think even further in the wrong direction.

    I think infected people have been in Hungary before, but they have not been tested. It would be completely unfunny if these students had brought the virus from Hungary to Iran on the same birthday party, which is not provable but also possible.

  2. György Lázár says:

    Dear Don Kichote, I find the Orbán government’s friendship with Iran distasteful… Iran has an oppressive, retrograde regime.

    The problem is not with the Iranian students, it is with the government preparedness and response. The Iranian virus problem has been widely publicized and Hungary should have done something much earlier since the majority of these students are studying medicine! Also, it is not clear why Hungary deported some of the infected Iranians… Don’t forget, Hungary has no free press and we did not hear the Iranian student side of the story, here is the government controlled news agency’s version in Hungarian.. https://24.hu/belfold/2020/03/13/koronavirus-irani-egyetemistak-karanten-kiutasitas/

    • With all the grief one has when education is carried to the grave, Orban, like the plague, is much deadlier. Thanks for the answer Mr. Lázár, Ignaz Semmelweis would turn over in his grave.

    • How about US relationship with Saudi Arabia? More repressive than Iran by most measures.

      Hungary has no free press? You are making a mockery of this site! You made this claim in a recent article, and I brought to your attention the fact that there are in fact leftist outlets that you would agree with.

      Editor of site once pointed out that he spends about $4,000/year of his own money running this site. Through your constant absurd claims, you are trampling all over his efforts by damaging the reputation of this site.

  3. Trump’s enemy # 1 is Iran, Orban is kissing up Iran for years.
    The idiot ambassador to Hungary calls Orban his friend.

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