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Iran's coronavirus stimulus: too little, too late

Iran's decision to withdraw 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund will do little to boost the economy, already distressed by corruption and the impact of global sanctions.
TEHRAN, IRAN - APRIL 08: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "PRESIDENCY OF IRAN / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) speaks during the National Committee Against the Coronavirus (COVID-19), in Tehran, Iran on April 08, 2020. (Photo by Iranian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei permitted on April 6 the administration of President Hassan Rouhani to withdraw 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) from Iran's National Development Fund to address the negative economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The move comes after weeks of disbelief in the government's circle and passivity in dealing with the economic impact of the pandemic.

Not since the time of the Iran-Iraq War have Iranians experienced such a volume of death and sorrow. On the same day, Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told reporters that there were 60,500 cases of the coronavirus in the country. As of April 10, the number of confirmed cases reached 68,192 and 4,232 deaths were recorded. It is not just the lives that are lost, but the livelihoods. More and more Iranians have to choose between trying not to get sick or earning a living. If traffic is any indication, the number of cars on the highways of Tehran after the Iranian new year holidays showed that Iranians have chosen to return to work. Even if every health-care professional in Iran is advising them to stay indoors, the Iranian government has decided not to force Iranians to take shelter in their homes. Instead of barring Iranians from leaving their homes, Rouhani told his Cabinet that economic activities are to resume on April 11 across the country, and on April 18 in the province of Tehran, the most inhabited region in Iran.

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