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As the death toll from #covid19 passed 2000 in Iran, embattled Pres. Rouhani is under fire for his lukewarm response to the rapidly spreading pandemic.
What are the key factors behind his administration's slow response to the viral outbreak.

Here is my explanation.

#thread
1/ On March 10 days after Iran officially announced its first cases of #covid19, the IRGC affiliated Fars News Agency in an article titled “lethargic days of Rouhani (presidency)”
farsnews.ir/news/139812200…
2/ criticized the poor performance of Rouhani administration in dealing with the #coronavirus outbreak including its slow response and lack of a coherent, nationwide strategy.
3/ According to the article while the killer virus has been spreading rapidly across the country “Rouhani and his VP Jahangiri have both confined themselves to control the crisis from distance and in quarantine.
ana.ir/fa/news/14/477…
4/ It further added they both evaded taking direct and full responsibility for the decisions of the national committee to combat #coronavirus outbreak (established in mid Feb with Iran’s health minister as its head).
5/ Those criticisms turned to be true. Health Min. Saeid Namaki in a letter to Rouhani on Feb 29 complained about lack of coop btw. different org. & health min. in combating #coronavirus in Iran. He also warned if same process continues there will be catastrophic consequences.
6/ Rouhani’s absence was so palpable that people on social media started to make fun of him jokingly saying the only person who has heeded government’s warning to stay in door and observed social distancing was the president himself.
7/ Even the national committee to combat #coronavirus outbreak came under fire for its poor performance in containing the spread of #covid19 mainly bcz health minister Saeed Namaki did not have the required authorities to deal with the crisis.
8/ Above all several MPs in the parliament questioned govt. approach and asked about Rouhani’s whereabouts.
They called on president to directly take the responsibility of the national committee to combat coronavirus outbreak.
tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1398/1…
9/ On March 11 Ayt. Khamenei in a letter to Rouhani asked him to take direct responsibility to lead the national body tasked with combating coronavirus outbreak in coordination with the armed forces.
10/ For Iran, the #coronavirus outbreak came at the worst possible time. In fact no other country has faced a complicated situation like the one Iran is facing today.
11/ The assassination of #QassemSoleimani the Iranian top IRGC General in January in a U.S. drone strike and a possible US military attack against Iran, put the bulk of Iranian military assets and resources that are crucial for relief efforts at times of crisis ...
12/ ... on a high state of alert and diverted the focus and resources of the military forces to maintain and safeguard the security of the country as their top priority.
pbs.org/newshour/show/…
13/ Meanwhile, Iran held the parliamentary elections in February that again kept different branches of the state preoccupied for months in advance which in turn might have undermined their ability to deal with a crisis at such a large and nationwide scale.
14/ Moreover, the #coronavirus outbreak coincided with a transition period in Iranian politics and power vacuum. The growing pressure from the US as well as hardliners inside Iran have severely weakened the government of Hassan Rouhani during his last year in office
15/ and conservatives victory in parliamentary elections virtually removed moderates and reformists from Iranian politics and effectively ended the tenure of the 10th parliament.
16/ Prominent Tehran uni. prof. Taghi Azadarmaki believes Rouhani govt. was so badly weakened after collapse of JCPOA that it was practically over! He says the coronavirus crisis provided Rouhani w/unique opportunity to avoid humiliation accept failure.
17/ Meanwhile, Rouhani’s administration poor judgment and decision making becomes more evident when we note that he had not appointed the head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society-- whose main task is to help people in crisis-- since December.
18/ The organization’s previous head resigned after allegations of corruption and misusing public funds surfaced against him.

fararu.com/fa/news/420178…
19/ On 12 March nearly a month after the virus outbreak Rouhani appointed Karim Hemati only as Acting Head of the Organization!!

irna.ir/news/83711883/…
20/ For crisis management at a scale like #coronavirus outbreak in Iran, a strong manager with informal relations has better chance of dealing with the situation. Especially in Iran that the government does not have all the required facilities and resources at its disposal...
21/ and must take numerous factors into consideration and develop good and close relations with different power centers and players to be able to move things forward.
22/ Critics of Rouhani & his health minister believe Saied Namaki’s predecessor Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi was person who fits above descriptions whose absence is really felt today. But he was forced to resign in Dec 2019 after dispute w/ Rouhani deputies. isna.ir/news/980116048…
23/ Hashemi was among Rouhani’s most experienced ministers and had a record of serving in the front lines in Iran-Iraq war and Jahad Sazandegi.
24/ Hashemi was also a trusted optometrist among different politicians because he had already conducted eye surgery on many top Iranian politicians. All the qualities that acc. to experts and observers Namki who became his successor in February 2019 lacks!
25/ Not to mention Ghazizadeh Hashemi along with several other former health ministers have also criticized Rouhani’s response to the crisis.

mashreghnews.ir/news/1053506/%…
26/ On top of the list of criticisms against Rouhani was his refusal to impose a lock down on cities to curb the spread of virus.
27/ This lack of coordination among state bodies became more evident when a funeral procession was held in Tehran for a former IRGC General that health ministry spox later slammed organizers with a critical tweet.

28/ In the crisis situation media play an important role. In Iran IRIB (state media) has monopoly and control of domestic radio & television services. IRIB has been kept close to the conservative and hard-line factions and has often collided w/ Rouhani since his election in 2013.
29/ On various occasions moderate Rouhani took a public stance against IRIB and accused it of giving a purposely negative coverage of his administration.

snn.ir/fa/news/766806…
30/ The history of rising tensions made coordination btw. state broadcaster and Rouahni administration difficult and challenging.
31/ Without a huge national effort, no country would be able to cope with that challenge and it seems this unified national effort is absent in Iran. That is partly to blame on foreign funded media.
32/ In fact, trust in authorities and state affiliated media runs low in Iran but it further plunged after the unfortunate downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane in January. That’s why a significant portion of the Iranian public prefers to listen to foreign funded Farsi media.
33/ That in turn could be one of the reasons that their audience in Iran has not taken government warnings and severity of the crisis seriously which in reality has made government’s job to deal with the crisis more difficult.
34/ For example in the absence of forceful government measures over 3 million took the roads during the first week of Nowruz and officials only relied on verbal appeals on national TV urging them not to make un-essential trips and stay indoors.

dw.com/fa-ir/%D8%AE%D…
35/ Let’s not forget that in many cases decision making in Iran falls outside the purview of the government. For example on March 17 following weeks of growing calls to limit access to Shrines in Qom and Mashhad to halt the spread of virus...
36/... the government belatedly announced the closing of highly revered shrines of Hazrat Masoumeh and Imam Reza in the conservative cities of Qom and Mashhad.
37/ Rouhani himself later said this was a difficult job but became possible with the support of the religious authorities and custodians of Qom and Mashhahd Shrines.

38/ As the death toll from killer virus in Iran passed 2,000, Rouhani said his govt was poised to introduce tough new measures. One would hope that the events of past weeks would set an e.g. for authorities to learn that forceful measures are necessary to control this crisis/END
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