For years, Iran’s economy has been strangled due to the sanctions imposed by the United States to restrict its production and exports of oil and gas. Nonetheless, experts say that Iran had survived and was able to manage the crisis effectively. But the country is now faced with another, perhaps more challenging, disaster represented in the widespread of the novel coronavirus across the country. Until the 5th of April, there have been 58,226 confirmed infections, of whom 3,603 lost their lives since 19 February.
This pandemic has not only triggered a health crisis but also exposed the fragility of Iran’s survival mechanisms as the country has more than 50% of the total confirmed cases in the Middle East and North Africa regions combined. Reports forecast that COVID-19 might impact Iran’s economy in a more harmful way than the US sanctions did. Since almost all developed countries are suffering their own problems due to the coronavirus, Iran becomes more isolated than ever.
The Islamic Republic appealed for international aid, including a USD 5 billion loan from the IMF, to enhance its ability to respond to the medical, social as well as economic crises causes by the pandemic. The government has been highly criticised for its decision to ease movement restrictions and resume business operations from April 11 amid high risks of elevating the spread of coronavirus. However, the government says the decision only involves low-risk economic activities.