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People's Daily Online

Iran's president urges U.S. to lift sanctions to help fight COVID-19

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:01, March 05, 2020

TEHRAN, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that if the U.S. really wants to help Iran fight novel coronavirus, it should lift the sanctions, including a ban on importing medical supplies.

Rouhani rejected as a "lie" the U.S. offer of help for Iran in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Our people know well that you (the U.S. officials) are lying, that you are not telling the truth," Rouhani said at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Washington was willing to help the Iranians with the novel coronavirus problem. "All they have to do is ask," he said.

Washington has been taking the most "sinister" of actions against the Iranians over the past two years by reimposing sanctions on their supplies of food and medicines and is now hiding behind "a mask of sympathy" claiming that it seeks to assist the Iranian nation, said Rouhani.

"If you are really telling the truth, you should at least lift your sanctions on medicines. This would be the first step. And say that you have done wrong to the Iranian nation so far and offer an apology," Rouhani added.

Iran announced the first cases of COVID-19 in the central city of Qom on Feb. 19.

The Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education said Wednesday that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Iran has infected 2,922 people across the country, 92 of whom have died.

A total of 552 people have recovered and left hospital, the ministry said in a statement.

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