COVID-19 in Iran and implications for the Middle East and Central Asia

COVID-19 in Iran and implications for the Middle East and Central Asia

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a virtual panel to discuss the public health, economic, security and geopolitical implications of COVID-19 in Iran, and its impact on the Middle East and Central Asia. Iran is the regional epicenter of COVID-19, with approximately 60,000 cases and almost 4,000 confirmed deaths. Iran’s ability to manage the crisis has been impacted by the US-led sanctions regime, a point of contention between Washington and Tehran, as well as the domestic political and security calculations of Tehran.

At the same time, with Iran home to 83 million people and benefiting from deep trade and economic ties with neighboring states, regional cooperation is an important question at play. How is Iran coordinating with the five Central Asian states, none of which have seen a health crisis like this since independence in 1991 and all of which are navigating intricate geopolitical aspects of the crisis as they relate not only to Iran, but also Chinese, Russian and American interests.

What are the public health, political and economic implications of COVID-19 on Iran and neighboring Central Asian states? In what ways have US sanctions and the domestic political agenda shaped Iran’s response to the virus? How have policymakers in Central Asia responded to the crisis? Where are the potential areas for regional cooperation in managing COVID-19?

This panel is the second in a series of COVID-19 events hosted by MEI’s Frontier Europe Initiative.


  1. Navhabor briefly mentioned about the civil society during COVD-19 in Uzbekistan. I would add more substance. Individual citizens in big cities and small communities quickly formed informal help groups and effectively coordinated the collection of resources and distribution to a more vulnerable population. It is a contrasting perspective on how formal NGOs, including GoNGOs, who usually function around particular projects and structured initiatives, demonstrated that they are not ready for emergency response activities. Perhaps, except Qizil Yarim Oy (Uzbek version of Red Crescent), there are no NGOs in Uzbekistan specialized in rapid emergency response and humanitarian assistance. I think one of the reasons is there were no sound DECLARED humanitarian crisis situations in Uzbekistan in recent years.

  2. we can not allow any of these people to ever get old they need to suffer before they get the chance to think that they got away curse on all 4 of you and god willing you will soon be ended

  3. iran will not accept ngo´s and when these french doctors without borders who had their leader speak infront of mek were not allowed to enter than certainly americans will have no chance at all they will get put into prison if they try and i doubt that now its the best time for them to risk this


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