• 2020-03-27

    On February 19, the health ministry announced that two elderly people in Qom had died from the coronavirus. On February 23, Iran’s health minister Saeed Namaki blamed an Iranian merchant from Qom who had frequently traveled between Iran and China. On March 25, Alireza Raeesi, Iran's deputy health minister, claimed that COVID-19 was brought to Iran by Chinese nationals who studied and worked in Qom. Many of them studied at Al Mostafa University, a state-funded seminary with many international students. Raeesi added that Iranian students returning to Gilan from Wuhan may have created a second epicenter, which spread independently from the outbreak in Qom.

  • 2020-03-27

    Beijing has steadily become Tehran’s economic ventilator, diplomatic prop, and military enabler, and the Iranians need this backstop now more than ever. When the coronavirus spun out of control in Wuhan this January, Iran ignored the example of many other countries and continued to maintain direct flights and open borders with China. Even after President Hassan Rouhani’s government suspended all such flights on January 31, Mahan Air—a company affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—kept flying between Tehran and four first-tier Chinese cities, leading many to allege that the airline was instrumental in introducing or at least exacerbating Iran’s raging epidemic.

  • 2020-03-16

    With nearly 14,000 confirmed cases and more than 700 deaths, Iran has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19. The country’s medical response to the crisis has been complicated by crippling US sanctions, which have led to shortages of basic medical equipment, including protective facemasks. Iran’s health authorities have screened over 10 million people for symptoms of the new coronavirus over a four-day period, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi has revealed. “6.5 million individuals were screened at health centres, and 3.7 million others via the online platform,” Raeisi said in an address, his remarks quoted by PressTV.

  • 2020-03-15

    The Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, welcomed a new approach by London toward the possible release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, speaking in an interview with Iranian Etemad newspaper. [...] Besides, Baeidinejad revealed that authorities of Iran and the UK are in talks regarding a multibillion debt owed by the United Kingdom to the Islamic republic, and looking at novel ways to get the debt paid. The United Kingdom owes Iran roughly 400 billion pounds ($490 mln) for Chieftain tanks, which it sold to Tehran in the last century but never delivered.

  • 2020-03-12

    Coronavirus: Iran requests $5bn IMF loan to fight disease, as cases reach 10,075

    Tehran confirms that it has recorded 1,075 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours across Iran

    By MEE and agencies

    March 12, 2020 

  • 2020-03-12

    „Through its draconian measures, the US is trying to bring Iran’s aviation activities to a halt by denying its aviation sector navigation equipment and software, Zarif said. Most recently, American companies have also been stonewalling Iran’s access to the information technology tools that would help it confront the virus, he noted. Zarif also released a list of medical equipment that Iran urgently needs in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak, saying that although “Iranian care personnel are courageously battling #COVID19 on frontlines, their efforts are stymied by vast shortages caused by restrictions on our people's access to medicine/equipment” 

  • 2020-03-09

    Since the 1980s, Iran has forged a network of political alliances across the Middle East that now give it more influence than its Gulf rivals and the United States. Tehran has exploited local grievances, sectarian identity, and conflicts to create or foster political parties, most visibly in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories but also smaller underground movements in Bahrain and Kuwait.

  • 2020-03-08

    The record thus appears clear: by imposing stifling sanctions, the Trump administration has deprived Iranian women of economic empowerment and the social independence that can accompany it; by politicising the women’s movement in the service of its own goals, it has exposed them to graver danger; and by zeroing in on women’s rights in Iran while it ignores them elsewhere in the Middle East, it has highlighted its own insincerity. The monumental challenges that Iranian women face in fighting their government’s discriminatory laws and repressive policies are difficult enough without the debilitating impact of sanctions. If they could collectively send a message to Washington, they might draw from the words of the thirteenth-century Persian poet, Sa’adi, who said: “I do not expect any favours from you. Just do no harm”.

  • 2020-02-27

    US President Donald Trump did the unthinkable and admitted some much-needed truth about US foreign policy. By declaring that it is time for the US to pass the fight against the terror group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) over to Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, while suggesting that the US should instead focus on maintaining control of oil resources in the region, he willingly shone a whole new light on the true motives of the powers-that-be in the Middle East region. Most notable is his willingness to pass control of the war against IS onto one of his prime arch enemies: Iran. Stating that “Iran hates ISIS and they should do it” is probably the most surprising statement to ever leave Donald Trump’s mouth, and that’s really saying something.

  • 2020-02-24

     This rebuke, however, does not mean that the system is about to crumble. There is no evidence that Iranians are willing to compound their current woes with major and bloody disruption that a new revolution would bring. However hopeless many may feel about the prospects of reform, there is no credible alternative to the Islamic Republic in sight. The heir to the Pahlavi dynasty, the so-called “crown prince” Reza Pahlavi and Mojahedeen-e Khalk (MEK), a widely despised exiled cult, qualify as such only in febrile imagination of neoconservative schemers. Such grassroots opposition as there exists, like the association of “United Students,” both called for boycott of the elections and denounced the “corrupt monarchical opposition” on their Telegram channel. This lack of alternatives means that the international community will have to deal with Iran as it is, not as it would like it to be. The task will become even more difficult if the conservatives, with wind in their sails, will succeed in capturing the presidency in the next year’s elections — the one institution of the state still controlled by the moderates around the President Hassan Rouhani. For all the divisions among the conservatives and focus on economic issues, it is safe to assume that their foreign policy will be more defiant towards the West. They will feel less compunction about abandoning the JCPOA for good and withdrawing Iran from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), all this accompanied by more assertive regional posturing and more repressive domestic environment.

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