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Taking precaution in Tehran. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty
Iran’s coronavirus outbreak has reached the upper echelons of power, and ordinary citizens fear that the information filtering down can’t be trusted.
Why it matters: Iran has the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of China, with 3,513 confirmed cases and 107 deaths. But experts fear the real numbers are much higher, and that the government’s instinct to control information and prevent fear undermined hopes of containing it.
Flashback: When coronavirus reached Iran, apparently via a businessman traveling from China, top officials including President Hassan Rouhani insisted life would swiftly return to normal.
Flash forward: The list of those infected now includes 23 members of parliament, a vice president and the deputy health minister.
State of play: As pressure grew, the government belatedly took action.
Information is still being tightly controlled.
The big picture: No one knows how widely the coronavirus has spread in Iran, but based on data from hospitals in Tehran leaked to the Washington Post, epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite estimated that there were now 28,000 cases.
The bottom line: “The more the officials are scared of scaring people, the more the virus will spread and the country will be further paralyzed,” a doctor in Khuzestan province told the FT.
Erdoğan (L) meets Putin today in Moscow. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
At the heart of the world's most pressing geopolitical crises are deals that are coming under immense pressure, if not collapsing entirely.
The big picture: Here's a look at how four high-stakes diplomatic pacts are faring, from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to the recent U.S.-Taliban agreement.
In Iran, U.S. sanctions are making it harder to access emergency medical supplies, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj and Abbas Kebriaeezadeh write in Foreign Policy.
In Afghanistan, a surge in violence followed the signing of a U.S.-Taliban withdrawal deal last Saturday. Pompeo said the "unacceptable" attacks could prevent the peace process from moving forward.
In Moscow, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a ceasefire today for Idlib, Syria.
In Europe, leaders have condemned Erdoğan's recent decision to open his borders for migrants and refugees hoping to reach the EU.
Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Israel's election committee has published the results of Monday's election showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing bloc with 58 seats — three short of the parliamentary majority needed to form a government.
Why it matters: Worse still for Netanyahu, particularly in the wake of what looked like a remarkable victory, a majority might now be uniting behind an effort to effectively end his political career.
Breaking it down: Netanyahu's Likud Party won the most seats in Monday's election, with 36. Allied right-wing parties won an additional 22.
The big picture: Israeli politics have been deadlocked for a year, with Netanyahu and Gantz both failing to form majority governments after two previous elections.
Driving the news: This time could be different. Lieberman now says he will recommend Gantz to form the next government.
Between the lines: That could leave Netanyahu powerless to stop a bill that would prevent anyone under criminal indictment from forming a government.
The erosion of democracy around the world continued for the 14th consecutive year, according to an annual report from Freedom House.
Why it matters: Year after year, many of the world’s democracies become less democratic. This year’s report draws particular attention to India, where policies targeting Muslims are “threatening the democratic future of a country long seen as a potential bulwark of freedom in Asia and the world.”
Breaking it down:
A professor at Shanghai's Antai College of Economics and Management conducts class online. Photo: Zhang Hengwei/China News Service via Getty Images
Schools and universities across much of China have closed due to the coronavirus outbreak and are being forced to hold classes online for the foreseeable future.
Zoom in: The video platforms are being closely monitored by censors, and some teachers are finding their lessons unceremoniously ended when they hit on controversial topics, AP reports.
The bottom line: This is one more way in which the coronavirus is putting China's authoritarian system to the test.
1. Vladimir Putin is shaking up Russia's constitution ahead of his expected departure from the presidency (if not from power) in 2024 — but he appears concerned Russians won't bother to turn out to vote on his changes.
2. Hong Kong's high court ruled Sunday that same-sex couples cannot be rejected for public housing on the basis of their sexual orientation.
3. Four countries or territories legalized same-sex marriage in 2019: Northern Ireland, Ecuador, Taiwan and Austria.
Waiting for a boat, and a chance to reach Europe, in Edirne, Turkey. Photo: Zan Kose/AFP via Getty
"The relationship I have is very good with the Mullah."— Trump, following a call with Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund