News ID: 266195
Published: 0400 GMT February 26, 2020

Iran: Dubowitz’s coronavirus remarks 'shameful and inhuman'

Iran: Dubowitz’s coronavirus remarks 'shameful and inhuman'
Chief Executive of Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said the remarks by Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), about the spread of coronavirus in Iran are “shameful and downright inhuman.”

Dubowitz claimed on Twitter Tuesday that coronavirus has halted Iran’s non-oil exports, achieving “what American economic sanctions could not,” Press TV reported.

“Coronavirus has done what American economic sanctions could not: shut down non-oil exports.”

Araqchi, in response, said Wednesday that cheering for a deadly virus to spread is shameful, noting that at least Dubowitz "understands that the American economic sanctions were not – and will not – as effective as a COVID-19 virus."

In another outrageous and unfounded claim, Dubowitz said that Tehran has “spread terrorism” in the Middle East and “now it’s spreading the coronavirus.”

Nearly 140 people have been tested positive for coronavirus in Iran since the infection was identified in a city in central country last week. The government has put the number of deaths at 19 as of Wednesday noon local time.

Dubowitz's remarks came as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday issued warnings about the virus, urging Americans to prepare and take precautionary measures.

"The data over the past week about the spread in other countries has raised our level of concern and expectation that we are going to have community spread here," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC's head of respiratory diseases, told reporters in a conference call.

The warning came as President Donald Trump tried to play down fears and said in a tweet Monday that the coronavirus was “very much under control in the USA.”

Meanwhile, growing economic pressure on Iran has hampered the country’s efforts to confront the outbreak of coronavirus as health bodies face restrictions importing test kits to detect the infection.

Ramin Fallah, a board member at Iran’s Association of Medical Equipment Importers, said on Sunday that US sanctions as well as restrictions newly imposed on Iran by a global money laundering watchdog had made it increasingly difficult to access the kits.

Under mounting pressure from Washington, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided on Friday to place Iran on its blacklist, making it more difficult for Iranian banks to settle payments with foreign counterparts.


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