Without any vaccination or known cure available for treating COVID-19, every country has been forced to find ways to deal with the upheaval the pandemic has created. Upon its arrival, nations have sought to contain the coronavirus through social distancing and the widespread use of masks. While some countries, including Italy and Spain, were hit with a severe outbreak early on, they’ve been able to enforce protocols that made it possible to subdue the virus and even eliminate it in some places. Other countries, however, have had a hard time preventing the spread of the virus, resulting in a terrible loss of life and depressed economies. For its population size, Iran has been dealing very poorly with its unique set of challenges and the people for the most part, are left to fend or themselves, devoid of any tangible government intervention. Here’s a quick look at the state of COVID-19 in Iran and its impact on United States and Iran relations.
A Raging Pandemic
There’s no avoiding the fact that the Iranian government has responded terribly to the crisis. Iran was hit hard when the virus arrived – due in large part to government decision to hold sham parliamentary elections amidst the pandemic and maintaining flights to and from China as COVID cases spiraled out of control. The government opened up commerce and schools without regard for people’s well being and without adequate safeguards or additional buildup of healthcare facilities. After doing so in April, cases began to escalate quickly until they reached the point where—according to credible source, —more than 160 Iranians are dying per day, with some 78,000 already dead. The rapidly increasing cases and death of innocent civilians due to shortage of hospital beds and medical personnel have devastated this country of over 80 million citizens. Meanwhile, the government has shamelessly blamed the people for the spread of the virus just as it wastes much of the country’s resources on nuclear weapons development, international terrorism, and internal oppression.
An Economic Crisis
It is certainly true that the virus dictates the status of the economy. The Iranian economy was already bankrupt due to systemic corruption and regime plundering nations wealth in pursuit of terrorism and nuclear weapons. When oil exports were slashed in 2019, Iran’s national currency plunged to all-time lows compared to the dollar. When Iran was hit with additional privations due to the coronavirus, government officials felt the economy couldn’t withstand the closures necessary to stem the spread of the virus, so they reopened the economy too quickly and without adequate healthcare system capacity or safeguards. Now they’re faced with an out-of-control virus as well as extremely high unemployment and poverty levels.
The Political Fallout
After a year in which Iranian society saw unprecedented civic unrest, 2020 has proven to be no less chaotic. The combined impact of the virus and a collapsing economy has resulted in street protests, which the regime sees as a direct threat to their power. In the city of Behbahan, protesters were recently chanting, “Mullah’s regime, we don’t want you, get lost.” Police resorted to tear gas to break up the protest. The nation’s poor—who were already willing to march against their government over gas prices and social inequality — are also more likely to suffer from COVID-19 due to limited access to health care, and they’ve been further pushed to the edge of society by the worsening economic crisis. The result is likely to be more demonstrations, which could prove to be even more disruptive and threatening to the Iranian regime.
If you’re concerned about the effect the corrupt Iranian regime is having on the Iranian people and US-Iran relations, donate to the Organization of Iranian American Communities. We’re America’s largest and most enduring organization of Americans of Iranian descent, and we’re dedicated to the promotion of a free and democratic Iran. If you have any questions, call us today at (202) 559-9232.