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US’ illegal sanctions ‘drain’ Iran’s resources in anti-coronavirus fight: FM Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has 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.

“@realDonaldTrump is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it,” Zarif said in a post on his Twitter account on Saturday.

[email protected] is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it.

The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 7, 2020

He added that the world can no longer keep silent as US’ economic terrorism is “supplanted by its medical terrorism.”

Iran is currently battling one of the world’s deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus outside China, where it originated.

The head of the Iranian Health Ministry’s Public Relations and Information Center, Kianoush Jahanpour, reported 21 new deaths from the coronavirus and 1,076 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall tolls to 145 dead and 5,823 infected.

“More than 16,000 people are currently hospitalized as suspect cases,” Jahanpour said in a televised news conference.

He said that 1,669 of confirmed cases have recovered from the illness, including in some provinces where recovery rate has reached 40 percent.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani rejected as insincere a United States’ offer of help to Iran in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, saying Washington should first lift its sanctions on medical supplies if it really seeks to help the Islamic Republic.

US would lift medical sanctions if its virus help offer were genuine: Rouhani

US would lift medical sanctions if its virus help offer were genuine: Rouhani President Rouhani says the US must first lift the medical sanctions it has imposed on Iran if its offer of help in the fight against the coronavirus is not a lie.

“Our people know well that you are lying, that you are not telling the truth,” Rouhani said addressing the United States, during a cabinet session in Tehran.

Trump has said the US is willing to help the Iranians with the problem, adding that “all they have to do is ask.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also claimed during a House hearing that the Islamic Republic did not have a solid healthcare infrastructure and that the US had offered to help it with the coronavirus response.

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