US must remove sanctions if it truly seeks to help Iran in virus fight: Rouhani
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 05 May 2020 3:41 PM
President Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at the United States for intensifying its illegal sanctions against the Iranian nation at a time when the country is fighting a deadly coronavirus outbreak, saying Washington should first lift the bans to prove its sincerity in offering help to the Islamic Republic in the battle.
"If the Americans are honest amid this coronavirus situation and seek to take a measure (to help Iran), the only way is for them to end the illegal sanctions on Iran," Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.
He hailed the Japanese government for lending Iran a helping hand by supplying aid to the country, slamming the US for further tightening its sanctions against the Islamic Republic regardless of the tough conditions facing the country.
The stepped-up sanctions, he added, have caused many problems for Iran in its efforts to obtain medical supplies and foodstuff.
The Iranian president stressed the importance of strengthening collective cooperation as the only way to contain the coronavirus as well as the need for efforts to reduce regional and international tensions.
"It is unfortunate that we have witnessed the US creating even more tensions in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region," said Rouhani. "America has always been the initiator of tensions in the region."
US President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have on several occasions extended a self-proclaimed helping hand towards Iran, with the top American diplomat accusing the Iranian medical system of suffering from weakness in the battle against the new virus.
Iran has roundly denounced the claims as hypocritical, saying if the US was genuine in its offer of help, it should first lift the sanctions.
Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the pandemic, has been doing its utmost to contain the respiratory disease despite the hardships caused by the US sanctions.
The Trump administration has not only defied international calls in recent weeks to halt the draconian sanctions, but has even slapped more restrictive measures on the Islamic Republic.
Washington re-imposed its sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after unilaterally leaving a historic nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic and five other major powers that has been endorsed by the UN Security Council.
Japan PM criticizes US bans
The Japanese prime minister, for his part, criticized the intensification of US sanctions against Iran amid the COVID-19 pandemic as an incorrect move and called on all countries to put humanitarian measures high on their agenda.
It is a source of concern that tensions are still ongoing in the Middle East despite the pandemic, Abe said, emphasizing the necessity of restoring peace and stability to the region.
He noted that Iran is an important and influential country which plays a leading role in promoting peace in the region, and that Japan would continue cooperation with the Islamic Republic in this regard.
The Iranian president and Japanese premier also called for expanding bilateral cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus and sharing experience in the field.
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