Sheikh Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, a Sunni Islamic scholar based in Zehdan, Iran, said in a video that was uploaded to abdolhamid.net on March 13, 2020 that COVID-19 came to Qom, Iran and subsequently spread to the rest of the country through Chinese students of religion at the state-funded Al-Mustafa International University, a Shi'ite institution where he said Sunnis are being brainwashed and which he said does things that are inconsistent with the Islamic Revolution's goals of unifying the Islamic nation. He also said that some students at Al-Mustafa International University are forbidden from returning to their countries of origin.
Sheikh Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi: "Coronavirus has reached Iran. Where did it come from? It is known that the Chinese religious students at Al-Mustafa International University have brought the virus to the city of Qom. Al-Mustafa International University has been operating for decades on very large budgets from the state. The officials should know what Al-Mustafa International University does. Thousands of Sunni students of religion, who are not familiar with their religion and their faith, come here and are being brainwashed.
"What Al-Mustafa International University is doing runs counter to the path that the Islamic Republic has adopted as a strategy – the path of unity of the Islamic nation.
"Some of the students fled Al-Mustafa International University and came to me. They told me that they want to go back to their country, but that their passports were not being given back to them."