Dr Anicée Van Engeland, Senior Lecturer in International Security at Cranfield University, comments on Iran’s response to COVID-19:

Iran's lack of a coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis combined with a slow decision-making process has had terrible consequences on society. While US sanctions are certainly an issue in terms of access to medical materials and medicine, the way the authorities have tackled the crisis raises questions. Preparing the country, including its medics, for a possible military conflict, including preparations for ground and air attacks across society, has consumed efforts.

On top of a lack of preparation, the authorities' lack of coordination is obvious: a MSF mission was recently given the authorisation to come and help before being rejected. Another example of the lack of reaction and coordination was the lengthy appointment of the head of Iran's Red Crescent, despite the crisis.

The population has reacted by distrusting the authorities or feeling numb. The sanctions, the assassination of Qasem Soleimani and the crash of the plane have exhausted Iranians.


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