Coronavirus: Rouhani says US can help Iran fight pandemic by lifting sanctions

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After refusing US aid and Iran offering the US aid, Rouhani has requested that the US lift its sanctions on the Islamic Republic, saying it is the only way the US can help Iran against the coronavirus, the official IRNA new agency reported on Tuesday.

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“If the Americans are honest and want to help against the coronavirus, the only way to do so is by lifting the illegal sanctions on Iran,” Rouhani said during a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

US sanctions have caused Iran “many problems” with medical equipment and food, Rouhani claimed.

The US says its sanctions on Iran, a country known to support terrorist militia, are not preventing aid from getting to the country. It has refused to ease sanctions against Iran and opposed Tehran’s request for a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The US is concerned the Islamic Republic will spend the money abroad on its regional proxies in terrorism efforts instead of using it to help ordinary Iranians.

Iran has been able to import coronavirus testing kits since January.

Rouhani had said on April 1 that US sanctions “have failed to hamper our efforts to fight against the coronavirus.”

Rouhani had also said on April 22 that Iran can export coronavirus testing kits to other countries and that there is no shortage of health supplies in the country.

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.

Given this, the Iranian opposition has accused the Islamic Republic of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to lobby for sanctions relief.

Iran is the epicenter of coronavirus in the Middle East, with the government reporting 6,340 deaths and 99,970 cases as of Tuesday.

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