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.
Co-founder and co-president, Institute for International Health and Education
Journalist, Voice of America, Uzbek Service
Mitsubishi Career Development Professor and Associate Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management
Alex Vatanka, moderator
Senior fellow and director of the Iran Program, Middle East Institute