Iran: Warnings of potential unrests after the coronavirus outbreak

Iran protests - November 2019

As economies across the world come to a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak, most governments have adopted measures to make sure their citizens are financially protected and can provide their basic needs. But in Iran, despite the vast economic resources owned by the rulers, the regime has yet to adopt any measures to provide the needs of the people who have been negatively affected by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.
And this mismanagement is pushing the society toward another explosion.

Experts and officials warn about the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak

50 Iranian economic experts warned the Iranian regime president in a letter about the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis, including the creation of “riot cells” in city slums.
“For two years, before the coronavirus outbreak, the Iranian economy faced inflation and the same time it deal with a deficit in 2020 budget,” wrote the experts and they added that “the coronavirus outbreak will lead us to total demand, total supply, and financial/budget shocks.”
The state-run Daneshju (Students) news agency wrote on April 3: “With an optimistic assumption that the disease will be eliminated in the short term and that health conditions will return to pre-disease status, the effects of this shock will include as following: Exacerbation of recession and reduction in production and economic growth, increase of unemployment and declined employment rates, rise of poverty and the possibility of a sudden increase in absolute poverty and an increase of the government budget deficit.”
Daneshju added, “The possibility of creation of ‘riot cells’ in city slums will turn the second part of 2020 in a full period of crisis.”
A state-run newspaper wrote on April 5, “In November of last year, when gasoline prices suddenly tripled, some rioters used people’s protests to demolish public property. At the moment, the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak and the pressure on poor classes of the society can draw the attention of some ill-wishers of the system.”
And regime analyst Saeed Hajjarian warned that the regime is bound for more unrests as “the price of a barrel of oil has declined to $20 and the spirit of death roams the world with the coronavirus.”
Also, on April 5, in an interview with the state-run website Rouydad 24, Massoud Rezai, a member of the Regime’s parliament, discussed the explosive situation of the society due to the coronavirus outbreak and said, “Before the coronavirus crisis the Iranian society was already in a bad situation. Unemployment, economical corruption and people’s distrust to the system was rampant. Now, a small trigger such as coronavirus outbreak is needed so that this society faces danger of dissatisfaction and disobedience.”
“People’s distrust to the system will cause hard defeat and bitter events in the system. Just before the coronavirus outbreak, we witnessed the society’s dissatisfaction regarding the gasoline price hike. All these events, one after the other, can prepare a huge hurricane of nationwide protests,” Rezai continued.

The regime’s fear of prisons riots

Meanwhile, the regime is also afraid of the growing unrests in Iran’s prisons, which have been hit very badly by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Making decisions about prisons has become a problem. Very disturbing news can be heard from inside prisons,” wrote the state-run daily Jahan-e Sanat on Sunday April 5.
As conditions continue to deteriorate in prisons, the past weeks have seen riots in several prisons by inmates who are infuriated by the regime’s lack of measure to prevent the spread of the dangerous virus in prisons. The regime has responded with force, opening fire on prisoners, murdering several inmates and taking others to clandestine locations.

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