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April 16, 2020

Foreign Affairs: Iran’s Hard-Liners Are Sitting Pretty

By Sina Toossi

Now is a time of soul-sickening worry for many Iranians, but perhaps not for the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The leader’s insouciance may seem perplexing, with Iran reeling from the novel coronavirus, U.S. sanctions, the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, and the specter of war with the world’s leading superpower. But Khamenei and his worldview are on the ascent in both domestic and foreign policy.

The coronavirus crisis has had tragic consequences in Iran, with the number of registered infections skyrocketing to 73,303 as of April 13 and the number of deaths hitting 4,585. And it has simultaneously brought to the fore divergent approaches to governance in the Islamic Republic.

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