Iran can export coronavirus testing kits to other countries, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, contrary to claims of US sanctions preventing the country from accessing testing kits.
The Islamic Republic claims there is a shortage of coronavirus testing kits in the country due to US sanctions. Most recently, health ministry officials said that US sanctions prevented Iran from importing coronavirus testing kits from South Korea.
President Rouhani contradicted this claim on Wednesday, saying Iran has enough coronavirus testing kits to export to other countries.
“At this moment, we are able to export coronavirus testing kits despite high internal demands,” Rouhani said.
“Not only are our internal needs for disinfectants and health supplies met, we can even export some of these supplies to the countries that need them,” he said.
Rouhani said he hopes Iran will also be able to export face masks in the near future.
Iran has rejected US help against coronavirus on several occasions and instead launched a campaign calling for the sanctions against the Islamic Republic to be lifted, claiming they hinder Iran’s access to medicine and medical supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The US refused to ease sanctions against Iran, pointing out that humanitarian goods such as medicines are exempt from sanctions.
Given this, the Iranian opposition has accused the Islamic Republic of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to lobby for sanctions relief.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who Rouhani credited for the campaign against US sanctions, tweeted on Sunday that Iran will be exporting ventilators “in a few months.”
Zarif’s tweet was seen as accepting the failure of the Iranian foreign ministry’s campaign against US sanctions.
Iran is the epicenter of coronavirus in the Middle East, with the government reporting 5,391 deaths and 85,996 cases as of Wednesday.