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Iran ends containment to avoid economic collapse

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The closed shops of the Tajrish bazaar in northern Tehran on April 4. VAHID SALEMI / AP

Between the risks to public health and those of an economic collapse, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has made his choice. Despite the danger of accelerating the spread of Covid-19, the Islamic Republic is moving towards the very short-term resumption of its economic activities, raising the concern of healthcare workers in the country, while the pandemic is not is not mastered.

“Before, the struggle [contre le coronavirus] was done while staying at home. Today, it is done by resuming economic activities. We have no other way in front of us “, summarized Mr. Rohani, Wednesday, April 8, during his weekly meeting with the cabinet.

Thus, from Saturday April 11, two thirds of the so-called activities “Low risk” will resume in Iran, except in Tehran province, which will wait another week. The decision was made when the official toll announced Wednesday is 3,993 dead and 64,586 confirmed cases. According to the doctors consulted by The world, these figures are largely underestimated.

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President Rohani’s decision comes at a time when the Iranian economy is in dire straits due, among other things, to US sanctions and the sharp drop in oil prices, of which Tehran still manages to export small quantities despite these sanctions. In the context of the health crisis and for the first time since 1960, Iran asked the International Monetary Fund for a loan of $ 5 billion (about 4.6 billion euros). The United States opposes it, accusing Tehran of wanting to use this money for its “Terrorist activities” in the region, according to US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Deann Ortagus.

New expenses

The revival of much of economic activity in Iran comes after two weeks in which many businesses have closed. Since March 27, it is also prohibited to move from one city to another. In the absence of concrete government assistance to compensate for the loss of income, many self-employed workers resumed their activities without waiting for President Rohani’s declarations, early this week, Saturday April 4.

It is impossible for some to do otherwise. Esfandiar, young Iranian joined by The world Take the example of his father, an auto parts seller in Isfahan, to explain the economic hardship inflicted on many people by confinement: “No income in twenty days with the rent of the store and the pay of the employee to pay, seven people to feed at home. He couldn’t last longer. ” The epidemic also involves new expenses: “In addition to the daily budget, we must add the purchase of masks, gloves and hand sanitizers, all very expensive …”

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