Rouhani slams US anti-Iranian sanctions amid coronavirus  [The Nation] 30 Mar, 2020

On Thursday, the Trump administration added five organizations, as well as fifteen people, to its sanction lists over their alleged ties with Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force at a time when Tehran is calling for the sanctions on its economy to be lifted amid the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic hitting the nation and the world. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday during a cabinet meeting denounced new US sanctions on Tehran, even as the country, along with the rest of the world, is fighting the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Iranian news outlet Press TV. The leader said that the deadly pandemic has united the Iranian people and created mutual trust between them and the government, despite the suffering caused by the disease. Rouhani hailed the country’s “acceptable” handling of the outbreak, saying that the situation in Iran “is good” in comparison to "Europe and the West", even though the country is under heavy US economic and trade sanctions. “While under sanctions, we have been able to resist and run the country as well as possible,” Rouhani said. He noted that the health and security of Iranian society is a “principle” for his administration in the current time, while characterizing criticism of his government's response to the pandemic in the Middle East as "political war". Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also criticized “illegal and immoral” US sanctions against Iran amid the coronavirus crisis, labeling the moves “economic and medical terrorism”. “US has gone from sabotage & assassinations to waging an economic war & #EconomicTerrorism on Iranians—to #MedicalTerror amidst #covid19iran,” Zarif tweeted on Sunday. “This even ‘exceeds what would be permissible on the battlefield’”. The minister called on the the international community to “STOP aiding WAR CRIMES” by ending the lockstep behavior of "obeying" US sanctions. On 23 March, several members of the US Congress signed a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin asking for a suspension to the sanctions against Iran, as the Islamic republic, similar to the US, faces a heavy coronavirus outbreak. Russia and China, along with other nations, have consistently called on the US to lift the sanctions, sending humanitarian aid and medical professionals to Iran in a bid to help the coronavirus-hit country. As of Sunday, Iran has seen 123 new coronavirus-related deaths, pushing Iran's overall toll to 2,640, along with 38,309 confirmed infection cases, according to Iranian Health Ministry.

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