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Iranians’ demands for quarantine fall on deaf ears

Iran’s president has rejected calls for quarantine against the coronavirus with no explanation, but his reasoning seems to be related to the economic devastation following the US sanctions.
Members of firefighters wear protective face masks, amid fear of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as they disinfect the streets, ahead of the Iranian New Year Nowruz, March 20, in Tehran, Iran March 18, 2020. Picture taken March 18, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC23NF9FQH2G

As Iranians were preparing to put behind them a bitter year full of sorrowful events, the coronavirus appeared as an unexpected and unwanted guest, destroying their plans to celebrate the Persian new year on March 21.

Though the Iranian public expects the government to place cities with high concentrations of coronavirus cases under quarantine, President Hassan Rouhani has refrained from doing so. His administration has not said a word about the reasoning behind the decision, but US economic sanctions seem to be playing a central role in preventing the Iranian government from taking the most obvious measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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