US sanctions crippling fight against Covid-19, Iranian president says

Tehran, Mar 21 (efe-epa).- Iranian authorities said US sanctions were crippling the country’s efforts to fight a pandemic that has spiralled out of control.

Despite the middle eastern country grappling with a bad outbreak of Covid-19, the US will continue with its “maximum pressure policy” on Tehran, the State Department’s top advisor on Iran Brian Hook said.

He added that the campaign to curb Iran’s nuclear, missile and regional activities was not curbing the flow of humanitarian aid.

Although medicines and food are exempt from sanctions, the reality is that since economic transactions with Iran are penalized by the US, importing anything is complicated. This has prompted many organizations and countries to donate medical supplies to Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged world leaders in a letter that “Time has come for American people to halt this dark chapter in American history.”

“The sanctions have drastically undermined the ability of the Iranian people to fight the coronavirus and some among them are losing their lives as a result,” Rouhani said.

In the letter, released on Saturday by the Iran state media, the president also said that “even in these pandemic circumstances, the US Government has not abandoned its malicious maximum pressure policy and, therefore, in practice helps to the spread of this virus with its penalties.”

“Any hostile actor seeking to undermine Iran’s health system and restricting the needed financial resources to tackle the crisis, will undermine the fight against the pandemic all over the world,” he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Yavad Zarif on Thursday tweeted:

“US administration gleefully takes pride in killing Iranians citizens on Nowruz — our New Year. The White House takes its maximum pressure to a new level of inhumanity with its utter contempt for human life.

“Iran to US: Your policy will live in infamy. But Iran won’t break.”

US sanctions were launched in May 2018 when Washington unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Tehran and announced that it was renewing sanctions on the Persian country.

The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Iran increased on Saturday to 1,556, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health.

In the last 24 hours, 966 people have contracted the infection and 123 have died, figures that show a decrease regarding the previous day.

The latest data brings the total number of Covid-19 infections to 20,610, of which 1,556 have died and 7,635 have recovered. EFE-EPA


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