Mar 28, 2020 12:13 UTC
  • Confusion over Iran waiver as Russia blames US for virus flare-up

Russia has called for urgent removal of US sanctions against Iran, arguing that the bans have led to the flare-up of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

“The serious situation in Iran regarding the coronavirus is largely a manufactured situation stemming from Washington’s unilateral sanctions,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Friday.

Zakharova said the “unprecedented political and economic pressure” on Iran allowed the outbreak to take hold in the country.

Iran is unable to buy medicine and medical equipment due to the US economic sanctions which the Trump administration has been continuously tightening as part of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted various international leaders, figures and groups to call for Washington to suspend its sanctions.

Earlier this week, eight countries sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warning about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on the international anti-coronavirus efforts.

The UN chief has said himself the sanctions are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.

In a tweet on Saturday, Iran’s Ambassador to France Bahram Qassemi said “those who still speak of sanctions and maximum pressure should accept responsibility for the death of thousands of people”.

Despite the international outcry, Washington imposed its latest round of coercive measures against Iran on Thursday.