Trump refuses to suspend Iran sanctions amid coronavirus outbreak
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 21 March 2020 1:30 AM
The administration of US President Donald Trump has said it would not suspend sanctions against Iran as the country is battling the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Iran has said the international community should push the United States to immediately lift all "illegal" sanctions it has imposed on the Islamic Republic amid a national endeavor to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
"The inhumane and illegal US sanctions will jeopardize the health and lives of Iranians and other nations through impeding our capabilities to prevent further spread of the coronavirus to other countries," said the permanent mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in a statement on Thursday.
"While the United States ties to contain the virus inside the country, it helps the outbreak overseas by undermining professional capabilities of some affected countries which are trying to battle the disease," it added.
No country, the statement added, can tackle the global health issue on its own, a challenge that knows no boundaries.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefing reporters with President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday claimed, "The whole world should know that humanitarian assistance to Iran is wide open, it's not sanctioned."
"We are doing everything we can to facilitate the humanitarian assistance moving in and to make sure that the financial transactions connected to that can take place as well. There is no sanction on medicines going to Iran, there is no sanctions on humanitarian assistance going into that country. They've got a terrible problem there and we want that humanitarian, medical assistance to get to the people of Iran," he said, pedaling a series of outright lies.
When asked again whether the US would remove sanctions against Iran during the Covid-19 crisis, Trump said, "They know the answer, the leaders of Iran, they know the answer to your question."
This comes as the US imposed new sanctions this week. The Trump administration blacklisted five companies based in the United Arab Emirates, three in mainland China, three in Hong Kong and one in South Africa for doing business with Iran.
Pompeo, the hawkish secretary of state and former CIA chief, accused Tehran of "violent behavior."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday called on Americans to urge the US government to lift sanctions against Iran.
"US government sanctions have led to many ordinary Iranians losing their health, jobs and income," Rouhani said in a statement. "Now is the time for the American people to shout loudly at the US government to demand an answer ... and not allow the US history to be blackened further."
The illegal actions were announced amid Tehran's call on world states to defy US sanctions in the midst of Iran's fight with the coronavirus pandemic.
Washington has been urged by China and Russia, along with others, not to impede Iran's efforts to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
On Friday, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the lifting of "unjust" US sanctions on Iran.
"I would stress and insist to the international community to lift the sanctions on Iran," Khan said at a press conference in Islamabad.
"It is very unjust they are dealing with such a large outbreak on one side, and on the other they are facing international sanctions," he added.
The Trump administration, however, insists on keeping up with its "maximum pressure" campaign as the country itself struggles with the fast growing coronavirus pandemic.
Trump reinstated US sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) – known as the World Court – has ordered the US to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.
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