Kuwaiti Health Minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah, right, speaks with the media on Feb. 22, 2020, as officials at the Kuwait City airport prepare to take Kuwaitis returning from Iran to a hospital to be tested for the COVID-19 virus. Iran has emerged as a regional epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
With cases in a half-dozen Middle Eastern countries that originated from travel within its borders, Iran has emerged as a regional epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that causes the respiratory illness the World Health Organization calls COVID-19 just as global fears of a pandemic are amplifying. Not only are there clear negative impacts for Iran politically and economically as well as potential negative economic and health impacts for the surrounding region, depending on how Iran manages the internal and external information flow, the outbreak could also harm and/or help Tehran's already fragile foreign friendships, should it compel Tehran to reach out to the broader world for more help....
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