1133 GMT April 03, 2020
President Hassan Rouhani emphasized the need for lifting US “cruel” sanctions against other nations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
President Rouhani in a letter to a number of world leaders on Saturday said fighting the novel coronavirus requires coordinated international measures, stressing that no country can manage this huge and dangerous crisis alone, according to the president’s official website.
He was referring to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak which has spread around the world and has claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people.
According to the statistics released by Iran’s Health Ministry on Saturday, the virus has claimed 611 lives and infected 12,729 people in Iran so far.
The new coronavirus is a new respiratory disease first identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The World Health Organization on Wednesday described the outbreak as a pandemic.
The US has imposed a series of sweeping sanctions targeting varying sectors of the Iranian economy ever since it withdrew from the Iran 2015 nuclear agreement in May 2018.
The bans deny Iran vital medical aid despite an October 2018 ruling by the International Court of Justice rejecting US sanctions on humanitarian supplies.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also in a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Tehran have caused “serious impediments” in Iran’s response to the outbreak.
Zarif called for the illegal US sanctions, which have greatly hampered Iran's fight against the coronavirus, to be lifted.
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has also renewed calls for Washington to suspend sanctions against Iran.
"We need to suspend these sanctions before more lives are lost," Omar said via Twitter on Friday.
The Iranian envoy to the UN on Friday called on the US to “depoliticize” its approach toward efforts related to containing the coronavirus outbreak.
“High time for US to depoliticize this humanitarian endeavor and lift sanctions. International crises necessitate genuine international efforts,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi tweeted.
“People and government of Iran working hard to defeat COVID-19, but US sanctions are impeding their efforts,” he said.
The US President Donald Trump, however, has offered to help Iran in its fight against the virus.
Following Trump’s offer, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi criticized his offer as a repulsive display of hypocrisy amid Washington’s sanctions and medical terrorism targeting Tehran.
“Instead of hypocritical displays of compassion and repulsive bragging, you should end your economic and medical terrorism so that medicine and medical supplies can reach medical staff and the Iranian people,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi tweeted.
On Thursday, Trump said that Iran is “facing a tremendous problem” and that US has offered to help the country. “We have the greatest doctors in the world,” he said, according to Press TV.
Mousavi said Iran enjoys having “the best, bravest and most component medical staff in the world”.
“We do not need American doctors,” Mousavi said, adding Washington should instead care for its own people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Iranian official, however, in a separate Twitter message thanked several countries which have sent medicine and medical supplies to Iran, stressing that the Islamic Republic will never forget its friends during hard times, according to the Foreign Ministry’s official website.