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Rouhani Says US Should Lift Sanctions If It Wants to Help Iran

Rouhani Says US Should Lift Sanctions If It Wants to Help Iran

Monday, 23 March, 2020 - 09:45
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, to the right of his Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri | AFP Archive
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the United States should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran in containing the coronavirus outbreak, adding that Iran had no intention of accepting Washington's offer of humanitarian assistance.

"American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak," Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Iran's death toll from coronavirus has increased to 1,812, with 127 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry spokesman told state TV on Monday, adding that the country's total number of infected people has reached 23,049.

Kianush Jahanpur said that in the past 24 hours, some 1,411 Iranians had been infected with the virus across the country.

Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its longtime foe. But the country's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday rejected the offer.

Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when US President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Iranian authorities have blamed US sanctions for hampering its efforts to curb the outbreak and Rouhani has urged Americans to call on their government to lift sanctions as Iran fights the coronavirus.

But the United States has sent Iran a blunt message: the spread of the virus will not save it from US sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy.

“Our policy of maximum pressure on the regime continues,” Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iranian Affairs, said earlier this week. “US sanctions are not preventing aid from getting to Iran.”

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