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US continues to block Iranian assets needed to buy medical equipment to fight COVID-19: Foreign Ministry official

Iran rejects reports that the United States has agreed to grant sanctions waivers to certain countries in order to open up the way for the Islamic Republic to access frozen assets and buy medical supplies and equipment needed to fight the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official said on Saturday that Washington continues to block Iranian assets needed to purchase medicines and equipment to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The official made the remarks in response to some reports claiming that Washington had granted waivers to some countries allowing them to release frozen Iranian assets to help Tehran buy urgent medical supplies.

“The efforts of some countries have led to the release of some of the Iranian central bank’s money,” a source told London-based Middle East Eye news outlet on Friday.

“Those countries will receive a sanctions waiver [for releasing Iran’s frozen assets], this has been granted and we are following this issue,” the source added.

Grappling with the coronavirus outbreak, Iran is facing sweeping American sanctions targeting every aspect of the Iranian economy.

Many world leaders, figures and groups have called on the US to suspend the sanctions that have negatively impacted Iran’s efforts to curb the outbreak.

Washington, however, has rejected the calls, denying recent reports that it seeks to scale back sanctions against Iran.

Iran has sought to counter the US bans restricting much needed aid by stepping up the development of its own necessary medical equipment and supplies.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on March 7 lashed out at US President Donald Trump for tightening “illegal” sanctions against Iran, saying such a move is aimed at draining the Islamic Republic’s resources required in the fight against the novel coronavirus. 

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