Iran: A country accustomed to crises

By Marina Villén

Tehran, May 4 (efe-epa).- Despite tough international sanctions and a fragile economy, Iran has demonstrated its resourcefulness in its campaign against Covid-19 by domestically manufacturing masks, ventilators and tests.

After ensuring domestic needs had been met, Tehran is now looking to export some of the material.

“We’ve learned the art of living in a crisis for years,” Ali Shamkhani, the influential secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, said recently.

In the last four decades, Iran has been through a revolution (1979), an eight-year war with Iraq (1980-88), deadly natural disasters and a tough regime of international sanctions from the West.

It is now facing fresh embargoes from the United States, which have crippled the economy and raised obstacles in the campaign against Covid-19, which has killed 6,200 people in Iran and infected 97,000, according to official figures. The coronavirus trend in Iran has, however, been on the descent for a month.

With the odds stacked against it, Iranian industry has had to adapt to the situation and find alternatives, according to Ahmad Behfar, the executive director of the company Ehya Darman Pishrafteh.

This private family company has been making ventilators, anaesthesia machinery and CT scan equipment for decades, although with the pandemic it has altered its lines of production.

“Confronted with the coronavirus problem, we boosted our production by six times, from five ventilators a day to 30. For that, we had to reduce our production of anaesthesia machines and CT scanners,” he told Efe.

The businessman said he had agreed with the Health Ministry to make 2,000 ventilators in the space of two months.

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