The Week in Review: March 20th – March 27th

The novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 continued to claim lives in Iran, with an official tally from the Health Ministry citing the number of deaths in the country at more than 2,300 this week. Experts continued to query the accuracy of the figures released by government ministries on the outbreak.

The Trump administration imposed more sanctions as part of its Maximum Pressure Campaign, this time on 20 Iraq and Iran based companies it accused of supporting terrorism.

Calls to halt sanctions from the United Nations and charities around the world during the novel Coronavirus outbreak were countered by Washington, which said that the sanctions were not preventing aid from entering the country.

Experts and analysts suggested that Iran’s leaders had billions of dollars held in escrow accounts and hedge funds that could be used to temper the country’s financial crisis and offer much-needed relief from the COVID-19 outbreak ravaging the country.

The U.S. offered humanitarian assistance to Iran, which was turned down by Iran’s head, Ayatollah Khamenei, calling the offer of help “strange,” while Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told the U.S. that it should lift sanctions if it wanted to help the country’s fight against the novel Coronavirus.

Fueled by conspiracy theories, including foreign aid charities deliberately bringing the virus to Iran, the Iranian government initially relieved Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from its aid duties inside the country. However, Iranian officials changed their minds one day after blocking MSF’s work inside the country, and said it would accept the organization’s help after all.

We continue to think of those families in Iran affected by the outbreak. Please stay safe and well.

  • As the Iranian government put quarantine measures in place to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, one official called the policy martial law.
    → Link to source
  • The IRGC held a parade inside a military base to allay fears around the novel Coronavirus, prompting concerns that the measure had exposed more people to the risk of infection.
    → Link to source
  • Musicians in Iran urged the government to lift restrictions on televised musical performances during the outbreak, so they could offer concerts to help boost morale.
    → Link to source.
  • All your anxieties about COVID-19 and living in isolation answered, in this interview with psychotherapist Saeed Khalilirad.
    → Link to source.