The coronavirus pandemic could pose new risks to human rights advocates in Iran, according to analysts. The country has been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than most Middle Eastern nations, which has fueled political discontent and worsened the country’s economic crisis.

As the death toll continued to rise, conservative hard-liners have in recent months cracked down on progressive critics, amid concerns that discontent exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis may result in new protests. After coronavirus restrictions drove a growing number of people online earlier this year to post photos of themselves violating the country’s rules on women’s clothing, authorities threatened a harsh response.

One of the most prominent targets of the Iranian authorities in recent weeks has been composer and musician Mehdi Rajabian, who was arrested last month for working with female artists. On Saturday, Rajabian is set to stand trial.

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