Thursday, March 12, 2020

Will Iran's Regime Survive Coronavirus?

...The problems start with the failing health of Iran's ruling class. The upper echelons of the Iranian leadership are overwhelmingly aging and infirm, and coronavirus is exacting a deadly toll on this cohort. As of March 4th, the Washington Post had documented that the disease had afflicted "about two dozen members of parliament and at least 15 other current or former top figures." That figure has expanded significantly since, as has the number of high-profile casualties within the Islamic Republic. To date, the virus is known to have claimed the lives of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, former deputy foreign minister Hossein Sheikholeslam, parliamentarians Mohammad Ali Ramezani Dastak and Fatimeh Rehber, and at least three other officials. More can certainly be expected in coming days.

But coronavirus has exacted an even higher political toll on the regime, because it has exposed the country's ruling clerical elite as incompetent and out-of-touch. The country is now in the throes of a profound political and health crisis. It has been brought about not only by the Iranian government's inability to contain the spread of the virus properly, but also by its complicity in covering up and minimizing its true scope....