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Coronavirus puts more pressure on Iran’s already strained economy

Amid ongoing economic strain due to sanctions, mismanagement and corruption, the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus presents additional challenges.
Iranian people wear protective masks to prevent contracting a coronavirus, as they climb an escalator in Tehran, Iran February 29, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC2BAF97VRQP

The current crisis surrounding the spread of coronavirus in Iran is a complex and multilayered issue with political, social, health, environmental and economic consequences ranging from questions of how to sustain the economy to the notion of public trust in the government’s handling of the process. Yet with Iran already facing massive economic problems due to sanctions, mismanagement and corruption, the question of economic impact of is of particular importance, as this public health calamity threatens to lead to further deterioration of the economy.

While there are conflicting statistics about the number of deaths and infections, it is clear that the virus has disrupted the country’s economy. According to official figures, there have been 1,500 verified cases and 66 deaths, but some reports place the numbers much higher. Authorities have closed schools, universities, government offices and also restricted many social events as well as transportation across the country to prevent the spread of the disease. Despite protests from the clergy, government authorities even took the rare step of canceling Friday prayers in Tehran and 20 other cities last week.

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