• 2020-04-22

    Iran reported its first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections on 19 February 2020 in the city of Qom, probably brought to the country by merchants who had travelled to China, and in the following days became a center of the spread of the virus in the region, as well as the second-worst affected country in the world. In the first week of March, Iran reported dozens of dead and hundreds infected each day, next only to China as the pandemic’s epicenter. At the same time, the government closed schools, universities, shopping centers, bazaars, holy shrines, and cancelled public events and festival celebrations. As confirmed cases mounted, health ministry announced that checkpoints would be placed between cities to limit travel. The unprecedented situation has left Iran in need of masks, respirators and other medical equipment, but imports are virtually impossible due to unilateral U.S. trade sanctions. 

  • 2020-04-22

    Iran reported its first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections on 19 February 2020 in the city of Qom, probably brought to the country by merchants who had travelled to China, and in the following days became a center of the spread of the virus in the region, as well as the second-worst affected country in the world. In the first week of March, Iran reported dozens of dead and hundreds infected each day, next only to China as the pandemic’s epicenter. At the same time, the government closed schools, universities, shopping centers, bazaars, holy shrines, and cancelled public events and festival celebrations. As confirmed cases mounted, health ministry announced that checkpoints would be placed between cities to limit travel. The unprecedented situation has left Iran in need of masks, respirators and other medical equipment, but imports are virtually impossible due to unilateral U.S. trade sanctions. 

  • 2020-04-18

    Israel’s policy on its relations with China aims mainly to maximize benefits for the Israeli economy without harming the strategic relationship with the United States. In recent years, given the intensifying competition between the two powers, Washington has stepped up its demands from Jerusalem for more caution in relations with China, and Israel's awareness of American sensitivity in this matter, as an indirect but grave risk, has unquestionably increased. Israel's defense exports to China were already banned by 2005, and an advisory mechanism for the state regulators was instituted in 2020 to allow somewhat improved oversight of foreign investments. China's relations with Iran, particularly the emerging trend toward stronger military, defense, and intelligence cooperation between them, highlight the direct risks that these relations pose to Israel. This requires that Israel be more alert, exercise greater caution, and reconsider the balance in its policy between benefit and risk. In the framework of this trend, Chinese technologies will likely contribute increasingly to intensification of the military threat posed to Israel by Iran and its proxies. Information, intelligence, and technologies obtained by China, including from Israel, are increasingly likely to find their way into Iranian hands. Israel should adapt its risk management to a reality in which an important economic partner is working closely with Israel’s main enemy, and is increasingly likely to share intelligence, military technologies, weapon systems, and military and operational knowledge with it. At the same time, Israel should adapt its dialogue with the United States to Washington's new priorities landscape, whose summit is China, while the Middle East is receding into the background.China-Iran relations are the convergence of the number one threats to the  United States and Israel, respectively. This calls for joint monitoring; discussion of policy challenges, linkages, trade-offs, and tensions; design and planning of relevant responses; and coordination of efforts. Israel's new partnerships in the region make it possible to expand this circle to the Abraham Accords signatories and to additional countries.

  • 2020-04-17

    „In the recent days, the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan has devoted several editorials to explaining to the Iranian public why the coronavirus pandemic has befallen the world and the lessons that the world should derive from it. In an April 6, 2020 editorial the daily postulated that the coronavirus is a product of the godless Western civilization, which takes pride in science for its own sake and which also created the atom bomb and chemical weapons. 

  • 2020-04-07

    Mohsen Rezaee, secretary of the Iranian regime's Expediency Council whose members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and whose role it is to advise him, published an article on April 2, 2020 via the Fars news agency. In the article, Rezaee, who is also a former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), discussed the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic for the world. He stated that the pandemic had exposed the malady infecting humankind – the sick world order based, according to him, on the liberal, capitalist West and on the American values of freedom and democracy. He said that in the wake of the pandemic, the Western order will make way for a new world order whose center of gravity will be Asia. Revolutionary Iran, he added, will play a unique role in leading the new world, and to this end it must advance the values of the Islamic revolution in order to cure all humanity's ills. ...

  • 2020-04-07

    Nonetheless, no systemic economic collapse is evident at this stage, and there are no signs of a lack of essential goods or a loss by government authorities of the ability to ensure regular supply of essential goods and services such as electricity, water, and gas. It appears that production abilities in most areas of agriculture and industry have been maintained in spite of the ongoing crisis. Furthermore the Iranian regime has already proven its ability to overcome grave crises, including years of significant economic sanctions, in part in light of the centralization of the Iranian economy, which is characterized by extensive involvement by government institutions and by the Revolutionary Guards. This centralization improves the regime's ability to adjust the economy to the new conditions created by the crisis. The deeper the crisis becomes, the more the Iranian authorities will need to reassess the situation and reorder national priorities. Although it is unlikely that its strategic aims will change, Tehran will probably be hard-pressed to finance some of its military activity in the regional arena. Iran has already been compelled by the renewal of American sanctions two years ago to reduce its support for particular organizations in the Arab world, including Hezbollah, which is facing severe economic distress. The damage done to Iran is likely to further restrict its abilities to assist its proxies in the region.

  • 2020-03-29

    As the proportion of patients infected with COVID-19 continues to rise in Iran, Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran is facilitating access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with COVID-19 infections. This is while a number of the medical staff in the hospital are among the plasma donors who have been infected and have recovered recently. 

  • 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.

  • 2020-03-27

    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.

  • 2020-03-16

    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.

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