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Iran's Khamenei Warns Of Worsening Economy If Coronavirus Remains Unchecked


Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the country’s economic problems could worsen if the coronavirus spreads unchecked.

Iran has struggled to curb the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases in February.

It shut down nonessential businesses, closed schools, and cancelled public events in March, but the government gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen the country's sanctions-hit economy.

"It is correct to say that something must be done to prevent economic problems caused by the coronavirus," said Khamenei on June 27.

"But in the case of negligence and significant spread of the disease, economic problems will increase, too," he said at a meeting with judiciary officials, according to his official website.

The Iranian rial has plunged to new lows against the U.S. dollar in recent days due to the temporary economic shutdown, border closures, and a halt in non-oil exports, according to analysts.

Iran's economic problems have worsened since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a landmark nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic, targeting vital oil sales and banking ties.

Based on reporting by AFP
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