By Theodore Shoebat
Iran’s economy has been horrendously devastated by US sanctions, and now that they are working to reopen their country, coronavirus infections in the country are returning back. As we read in the Wall Street Journal:
Iran is rolling back coronavirus restrictions as it attempts to revive its battered economy, despite a surge in new infections that has driven daily cases back toward the country’s peak in late March.
Iran locked down much of its economy and closed off religious sites after emerging as the biggest hot spot for the disease in the Middle East in February. As the number of daily cases waned, it began easing some restrictions such as local bazaars and shopping malls in April, followed by restaurants in May.
This past weekend, the government gave permission for all state employees to return to work and allowed gyms to reopen, removing most of the restrictions on businesses. Mosques across the country, some of which had been allowed to perform Friday prayers, are now permitted to hold daily congregations.
Such moves have been met with warnings from Iranian health officials.
“Not only is corona not finished, but we might also get a dangerous peak at any moment,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki said Monday, according to the semiofficial ILNA news agency.
U.S. sanctions continue to choke off Iranian oil exports and have isolated the country from the global banking system. The currency has lost two-thirds of its value since the reimposition of U.S. sanctions in 2018, while inflation last year hit 38% and is expected to remain above the central bank’s target of 20% this year. Since the coronavirus outbreak, exports to China—one of its economic mainstays—have also plummeted.