It is no secret that disease outbreaks tend to hit authoritarian regimes the hardest. And nowhere is this more evident than Iran, which reports the 3rd highest number of worldwide deaths from the coronavirus pandemic despite having a relatively young population.
The Iranian regime is calling for the U.S to ease its crippling sanctions — even as its proxies attack U.S assets in Iraq. The two nations are closer to war than many realize. And the United States is keeping up the pressure by imposing additional sanctions on Iran’s government even though this may be hampering the nation’s fight against coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic has distracted the world from the escalating tensions in the Middle East.
The region has been a powder keg ever since the Trump administration assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in January, and the Iranian government launched a series of retaliatory strikes on U.S bases in Iraq.
The Iranian strikes, code-named “Operation Martyr Soleimani,” targeted America’s Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq as well as Erbil, in Kurdistan.
Although several Americans were injured, Trump seemed to consider the casualties minimal and declined military escalation. This is despite earlier promises to target 53 Iranian locations, including those with cultural significance if the Iranians retaliated.
While the U.S military has conducted several strikes in Iraq, it has declined to take the fight directly to Iran. Trump may be waiting until the coronavirus pandemic is under control before engaging in direct strikes on Iranian soil.
According to Iran’s health ministry, the disease is reportedly infecting 50 people every hour and killing someone every 10 minutes.
It is unclear what impact U.S sanctions are having on Iran’s abnormally high coronavirus fatality rate. But some on Twitter believe America’s policy towards Iran is genocidal. Sarah Abdallah, an independent geopolitical commentator states the following to her 222,000 followers on Twitter:
On Tuesday, the United States imposed additional sanctions on Iran and called on the country to release detained Americans. Today, it reaffirmed that it would not be offering sanctions relief to Iran with U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming the United States isn’t contributing to the humanitarian disaster.
We are doing everything we can to facilitate the humanitarian assistance moving in and to make sure that the financial transactions connected to that can take place as well.
There is no sanction on medicines going to Iran, there is no sanctions on humanitarian assistance going into that country.
It is unclear how this situation will play out in the coming months. But the United States and Iran may be closer to war than many realize.
Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:03 AM UTC