To date, there are over 5,000 Covid-19 victims in Iran and more than 80,000 infected cases. The Gulf neighbours have rapidly closed their borders to Iranians, despite their more robust healthcare structures.
Internal divisions within the system encumbered the response of the regime, as was the case in many other areas. The Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards showed significant reluctance before announcing the closure of mosques and sites of pilgrimage, no doubt out of loyalty for the regime’s core principles. Having had to handle the consequences of a catastrophic year of American sanctions and a 10% drop of GDP, the government delayed the lockdown as much as it could. Despite the highly competent doctors in Iran, the government had to reckon with the poor organisation of healthcare and the low quality of the paramedic system. Though masks can be easily found in Tehran, there are insufficient beds, machines and medical devices.