Vaezi: ‘Iran is fighting two viruses: corona and U.S. sanctions’

April 22, 2020 - 17:37

TEHRAN - Presidential chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi said on Wednesday that Iran is fighting two viruses, one is the coronavirus and the other is the United States’ sanctions.

Talking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Vaezi said diplomats, statesmen, and media must tell the world that Iran is simultaneously fighting the two viruses.

He added that people’s cooperation is required more than ever to contain the outbreak of coronavirus.

Donald Trump’s administration is not only refusing to remove its illegal sanctions on Iran, but it is also blocking Tehran’s efforts to get an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden said on April 2 that Trump’s administration must ease economic sanctions on Iran as a humanitarian gesture during the global coronavirus pandemic.

He said the U.S. has a moral obligation to be among the first to offer aid to people in need regardless of where they live when confronting a virus that knows no borders or political affiliations, according to Aljazeera.

Iran is one of the countries hit hard by the deadly coronavirus.

Also, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein in a letter has urged Trump not to block Iran's access to a $5 billion loan from the IMF to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

“I am disappointed to see reports that your administration intends to block Iran from receiving $5 billion in humanitarian aid from the IMF to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Feinstein wrote in her letter to Trump. 

“Providing these funds to Iran would help it respond more effectively to the disease and mitigate the risk of further destabilization in the region,” she added.

Iran applied for emergency IMF funding in March to help it fight the coronavirus outbreak. Washington has indicated it will block IMF funding for Iran.

Chris Murphy, the U.S. senator from Connecticut, warned on April 13 that the Trump administration could be partially responsible for “the death of innocent people” if it continues its current policies towards Iran amidst the epidemic.

“If this epidemic continues to grow and spread in Iran it will…result in the death of innocent people, partially as a result of U.S. policy that does not accrue to the national security benefit of our country,” he told reporters on a conference call, The National Interest reported.

“Remember, if we don’t beat it there, we don’t beat it here. This virus doesn’t respect borders,” he added. “It’s just good public health policy to help even our adversaries beat back this scourge.”

Murphy had penned a March 26 letter, signed by ten other Democratic senators, asking the Trump administration to ensure that Iran and Venezuela can import medical supplies and other humanitarian goods to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Murphy also wrote on his Twitter page on April 6 that Iranians are dying of coronavirus partly because of U.S. sanctions. 

“Innocent civilians are dying there in part because our sanctions are limiting humanitarian aid during coronavirus,” he tweeted.


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