The spread of the coronavirus has exacerbated tensions within the governmental system and between the system and the population, Middle East Fellow Ariane Tabatabai said on CSIS’s podcast “Babel.” Iranian state-backed media has been pushing the narrative that sanctions are the main reason why Iran is unable to deal with the pandemic. Sanctions are part of that, Tabatabai said, but so are corruption, mismanagement, downplaying of the disease, and disinformation about it. “What the IRGC are trying to point to is that the West is not just unreliable as a partner, it’s also just plain obstructionist,” so as to take the blame off the government, she explained. 

CSIS's "Babel"

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