Post-Pandemic, Iranian Regime Highlights Its Revolutionary Colours
Responding to the global pandemic is at the forefront of all world leaders' minds. The difficult trade-off between the human and economic cost of the virus is driving different exit strategies. But in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a more pressing concern is dictating the country's COVID-19 response: the growing fear and likelihood of public unrest.
The regime's increasing anxiety about a post-pandemic "fallout" on the Iranian streets is not without reason. The virus grew in the backdrop of rising political dissent, economic turmoil and frequent civil unrest. Only months before the outbreak of COVID-19, the Islamic Republic experienced the largest wave of anti-regime demonstrations in the course of its 41-year lifespan, leaving 1,500 civilians dead. Iran's ailing economy, which contracted 7.6 percent last year, was one of the drivers of the recent protests. Recent estimates suggest Iran's GDP has already decreased by 15 percent as a result of the pandemic, and this is by no means the final figure. It is therefore not surprising that regime insiders are warning that "social patience is running out."