Lift sanctions if you want to help: Iran to US amid coronavirus outbreak
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said that the US is impeding the global fight against coronavirus with its sanctions on Tehran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called US leaders "liars", and has told them to lift sanctions instead of offering aid. His comments come as the death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic in Islamic republic crossed 1,700 with more than 21,000 confirmed cases.
"American leaders are lying," Rouhani said in a televised speech. "If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is lift sanctions... then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
"You have blocked Iran's oil exports, you have stopped Iran's banking transactions… The fact that Americans say that we are ready to assist Iran under coronavirus crisis is one of the biggest lies in history.
“Our nation knows what to do. Our medical staff have good command of their jobs,” Rouhani added.
Meanwhile, in a tweet on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the US is impeding the global fight against coronavirus with its sanctions on Tehran.
“Iranian people appreciate the growing global campaign of government & civil society leaders calling for lifting of illegal US sanctions,” he said, adding that the US was “NOT listening” and the only remedy was to “DEFY US mass punishment.”
Iranian people appreciate the growing global campaign of government & civil society leaders calling for lifting of illegal U.S. sanctions.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 23, 2020
U.S. is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID19.
The ONLY remedy: DEFY U.S. mass punishment.
MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative.
Rouhani and Zarif’s remarks come a day after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US of creating the virus. Khamenei had also rejected Washington’s offer of assistance.