2021 年 2021 巻 11 号 p. 107-118
In February 2020, Iran was one of the first countries in the Middle East to have experienced the rapid surge in infection and death cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A year later, at the time of writing, the surge continues to grow with a total death count of more than 60,000 and about 8,000 new infection cases per day. The present work overviews how, despite the government’s efforts to contain it, COVID-19 has spread throughout the country with such intensity. It sheds light on Iran’s plight, in particular, by attending to the broader international context in which the Americanled economic and financial sanctions have significantly restrained the country’s competence and capabilities to respond to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, many religious leaders have offered the faithful various types of guidance on how to cope with the widespread disease. Their efforts to provide religious meaning and significance to the pandemic are an emerging trend uniquely found in Iran, a home to Shiite Muslims. Viewing their activities as a spiritual struggle, the religious leaders have rigorously joined the frontline fight in a variety of ways during this difficult time. The present work also looks at the scope and rationales of such activities and highlights some religious dimensions of the COVID-19 surge that increasingly garner attention in Iran.