Moral Investment in Iran: Mega Shopping Center Turned into Coronavirus Hospital
By Nour Rida
Tehran - As the Coronavirus keeps sweeping across the world, some initiatives like that of an Iranian businessman is inspiring. On the outskirts of Western Tehran stands Iran Mall, one of the five largest shopping malls in the world and the largest across the Middle East. This luxury space is now at the service of the people with the opening of a COVID-19 patient temporary hospital in its facilities.
The mall has closed its doors to promote social distancing and in a smart and humanitarian move, the founder of the shopping center decided to turn it into a huge medical center to help the Iranian society fight the epidemic.
In an interview with al-Ahed news, Mr. Qassem Akbari, head of the Iran Mall Health Center said “Iran mall is a giant shopping center that was turned into a health care center to take care of Coronavirus patients. This does not come as a surprise in Iran because it comes in the context of carrying out social responsibility that people feel at such times of crisis.”
Pointing out to luxury space is now at the service of the health emergency with the opening of a COVID-19 patient hospital in its facilities, the manager said “Mr. Ansari, the owner and founder of the project Iran Mall was the one who took care of financing and funding the project. This temporary hospital was sponsored by charity foundation of Mr. Ansari his brother and their family, they set up the convalescence center.”
Noting that the move comes in the context of social support, Mr. Akbari told al-Ahed news “The entire world has been affected by the pandemic which has caused a complicated situation across different countries. The establisher of Iran Mall decided that he must bare part of the responsibility and join the fight against COVID-19.”
Explaining the logistics of the temporary health care center, Mr. Akbari elaborated “The shopping mall has a separate and independent section which serves as an exhibition center; it was turned into the health care center. This section was turned into a temporary hospital prepared and equipped with 1,000 beds so far and another 2,000 will be installed shortly. It is also prepared with all the needed equipment including ventilators, monitors and surgery rooms.”
Built on an area of 1.3 million square meters West of Tehran, the mall features around 700 shops, a large supermarket, 200 restaurants and coffee shops, a dozen1,800-seated movie theaters and a five-star hotel. Besides the luxury and its large size, the mall has special details such as a bazaar inspired by the history of Tabriz or Isfahan; a garden designed in Persian tradition and a hall of mirrors like those of the palaces of the Qajar dynasty. The roof of the mall serves as a sports complex with long routes for hiking, cycling, and public activities. It includes 15 sports fields, tennis courts, a 12,000 square meter ice rink and swimming pools.
Asked on how the health care center is managed, the manager explained “The School of Medical Sciences in Iran and its medics are in charge of the temporary hospital and all the work is done in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The doctors, nurses and medics that serve at Iran Mall health care center are from the University of Medical Sciences in Iran and they are the ones managing the center. So, we basically sponsored, equipped, and prepared the center and these doctors and nurses are the ones running it. It is important to note that these medics are all volunteers.”
Explaining how the work is carried out, Mr. Akbari noted that “The patients who come to this center basically spend 15 days of quarantine after they are released from the different hospitals across Tehran. Patients come to the hospital on daily basis and stay until they fully recover.”
Mr. Akbari underscored that “In an Islamic society, it is the duty of each and every one to bare part of the responsibility. It is not surprising at all to see such initiatives as this is part of the Iranian Islamic culture. I think this is a ‘humanitarian’ investment that can be a lesson to all the people of the world.”
He went on to say that such initiatives are unforgettable experiences in society that bring so much love into the society.
“Such an initiative is a moral lesson, teaching us that people must take care of one another and cooperate at times of need or crisis. In this context, money and capital is not only a means to do financial investment, it is a means to serve the people and carry out what we see as our social and humanitarian duty. I can describe it as a moral investment. The value of this act lies in the fact that such charitable work serves the people and brings them some relief,” he described.
Mr. Akbari concluded saying “I can also say this is in particular part of bringing harmony to the society and fighting corruption and greed. This is what we believe in, that there will be a time when no poor people will exist and when capital will be distributed in a fair manner to help the poor and the needy. Simple attempts like that of Iran Mall is on the path of bringing justice to the world, which will culminate by the coming of the savior Imam Mahdi.”