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Iran's Rouhani looks to reopen economy despite health officials' warnings

Despite warnings by health officials that Iran's coronavirus crisis is still growing, President Hassan Rouhani wants parts of the economy back in motion by April 8.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid - HP1EF9Q1DKPMQ

In the fight against the novel coronavirus, Iran has been slow to implement the severe lockdown measures seen in other high-case countries such as Italy due to economic concerns around providing basic services for its population while the country is under US sanctions. On March 27, as cases continued to grow, Iran implemented what it called social distancing measures that restricted travel outside of home provinces and closed most office buildings and nonessential businesses. 

Now, due to economic concerns, the president has called for the reopening of certain sectors of the economy by April 8 in what he is calling a “smart social distancing” policy. In an April 5 cabinet meeting, Rouhani said, “Although the responsibility of the administration is to support the classes most at risk, at the same time it has a responsibility to provide all the necessary conditions for employment and business. Therefore with the protection of health as a priority and with all the necessary health protocols, we must adopt measures to move the wheel of the economy.” 

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