Iranian artists urge world celebs to call on U.S. to lift sanctions amid coronavirus epidemic   

March 22, 2020 - 19:35

TEHRAN – Over 150 Iranian artists, cineastes and writers have urged celebrities around the world to call on the U.S. government to lift sanctions as Iran fights coronavirus epidemic.

In an open letter published on Friday, the first day of the Iranian New Year, the artists elaborated how the U.S. sanctions have thwarted Iranians’ efforts to fight the new virus and asked the celebrities around the world to use their influence with the U.S. government to warn the country of the threats the sanctions pose to the lives of ordinary people and medical staff.

According to a report published by Iran’s Health Ministry on Sunday, the country is fighting the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East with its death toll climbing to 1,685.

“Today, Iranians are facing two crises: the common crisis of coronavirus of which you are aware and the crisis of the sanctions, which we hope you will never experience,” reads the letter signed by the world-renowned sculptor Parviz Tanavoli and maestro Ali (Alexander) Rahbari.

“It is important for us to know of what you – the celebrated artists in the world – will do now for those Iranian people, including elders and children, who have been infected with coronavirus, and about the shortages of the medical supplies,” it added.

The names of Armenian-Iranian filmmaker Anahid Abad and Palme d’Or winning actor Shahab Hosseini are also among the artists who signed the letter.

Earlier on Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also asked Americans to call on the U.S. government to lift sanctions amid coronavirus epidemic. 

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Friday, “The United States sent Iran a blunt message this week the spread of the coronavirus will not save it from U.S. sanctions.”

Photo: Members of firefighters wear protective face masks, amid fear of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as they disinfect the streets in Tehran on March 20, 2020. (Mehr/Mohammadreza Abbasi)

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