Poor governance, disinformation, censorship, and punishing U.S. sanctions have turned a crisis into a disaster.
- 0 Public Health
- 11.2 Financial
- 0 Fact-Based
Iran has a very weak policy score, due largely to very weak public health policy, driven by a severe lack of testing and substantial misinformation and press limitations by the national authorities.
Iran was near the median in its pre-pandemic capacity, with minimal debt, and its relatively healthy population counterbalanced by a very low number of hospital beds and low GDP per capita.
- Debt/GDP ratio 32.2%
- GDP/capita $17,832
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 40.8
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 12
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 71.1
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 10.2
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)
Public Health Directives
Iran has not mobilized any additional funds for emergency healthcare responses, which, coupled with its limited testing, and delayed travel restrictions, explains its very weak public health policy score.
- Stay at home order 2
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 3
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 1
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 135.8
- Contact tracing 1
Iran has a weak score, driven down by its relatively small fiscal stimulus and weak income support.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 8.9%
- Income support 1
- Debt forebearance 1
Press suppression and misinformation have been rife, with authorities suppressing information about the virus’s spread, ignoring the benefits of social distancing and PPE, and claiming that the coronavirus is a weapon made by the U.S. to bring down Iran.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 5
- Press freedom 2
COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15
Iran’s in-country COVID-19 status is near the median, with a median death rate countered by a relatively low case rate and a low positivity rate. However, its limited use of facts and its press limitations might put some of these numbers in question.
- Total deaths 8,133
- Death rate per 100K 96.8
- Total cases 1,754,933
- Cases per 100K 78
- Percent of positive tests 12.9
- Change in positivity rates +1.4
|1||Apr 20||Malls and bazaars reopen||15.41|
|2||Apr 22||Parks and recreation areas reopen||14.22|
|3||May 12||Mosques reopen||17.63|
|4||May 16||Schools reopen||20.92|
|5||May 26||All businesses and major religious sites reopen||21.28|
|6||Aug 01||State of emergency extended until at least January 2021||30.34|
|7||Sep 12||Schools and seminaries reopen||25.47|
|8||Oct 03||Tehran and other provinces shut down schools, mosques, libraries and other public institutions for at least a week||41.94|
|9||Nov 28||New wave of restrictions, partial lockdowns, curfews, and mandatory facemasks||159.56|
|10||Dec 26||Extended nighttime curfew to 330 lower risk cities||68.58|
- Homegrown vaccine initially effective: Iran's domestically produced COVIran vaccine was 90 percent effective in initial tests on a sample of 35 people. Read More
- China's Sinopharm vaccine arrives: Iran received 250,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine, as deaths surpassed 60,000, after receiving 10,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine earlier. Read More
- Iran aims to become vaccine exporter: With continued progress toward its homegrown vaccines, Iran aims to become the leading manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines in the Middle East by the summer, although some doubt the country will actually be able to produce enough to fully vaccinate its own population. Read More
- Fears of fourth wave of pandemic: Iranian officials were concerned that variant COVID-19 strains could hasten a fourth wave of the pandemic, as cases kept rising in the country. Read More
- Iran asks for sanctions relief to fight COVID-19: Iran asked the Biden administration to lift sanctions on it, which it claims have greatly limited the country's ability to address COVID-19. Read More
- Western vaccines banned: Supreme Leader Khamenei banned the import of U.S. and U.K.-produced vaccines, saying they were not trustworthy. Read More
- Millions lose income due to COVID-19: An estimated 7.3 million people in Iran are thought to be living in a precarious financial state due to the coronavirus. Despite this, its government struggled to support its population due to the impacts of U.S. sanctions. Read More
Compared with the Nearest Countries in the Index
Per 1M 23,578
India scores just above the median, a large drop-off in recent months, keyed by substantial weakening of restrictions and worsening financial support.
Per 1M 9,474
Russia has a relatively weak score, with strong public health policy undone by weak financial support, limitations on press freedom, and spread of misinformation about the pandemic.
Per 1M 14,466
Turkey has very weak policy, driven by little emergency spending, stimulus, or debt relief, and loosening restrictions. It also has limited press freedom and has conducted minimal testing.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million