The Islamic Republic has an opportunity to limit the virus with the approach of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. The rare religious decree by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei curtailing travel in the country could help, but it came days after Iraq and Lebanon, both allies of Iran, restricted movement while facing a fraction of the reported infections.
What happens next will not only affect Iran’s civilian government and Shiite theocracy, whose officials already have fallen ill, but also the wider world.
“Judging by the fact that Iran has now asked for a $5 billion loan from the IMF, this speaks to how dire the situation is getting and them realizing that it’s spun out of control,” said Dr. Amir A. Afkhami, an associate professor at George Washington University who studies Iran.
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