Sanders: Lift the sanctions on Iran

Democratic presidential hopeful says US sanctions on Iran should be lifted in order to help it fight coronavirus.

Elad Benari ,

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders

US Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Wednesday called for the US sanctions on Iran to be lifted, citing the high death toll in the Islamic Republic from the novel coronavirus.

“Iran is facing a catastrophic toll from the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. sanctions should not be contributing to this humanitarian disaster,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

“As a caring nation, we must lift any sanctions hurting Iran’s ability to address this crisis, including financial sanctions,” he added.

Iran has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 with more than 1,000 deaths.

The disease has killed at least 12 Iranian politicians and officials, both sitting and former, and infected 13 more who have either been quarantined or are being treated.

High-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament.

Last week, it was reported that Iran’s senior Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, and two other Cabinet members have contracted the new coronavirus.

A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was also reported to have been infected with the virus.

On Monday, Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, a member of the Assembly of Experts that appoints and monitors Khamenei, died from the virus.

Since leaving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the US has continuously reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Iranian leaders have said that the US sanctions “severely hamper” the Islamic Republic’s ability to fight coronavirus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week wrote to a number of world leaders and asked them to stop observing the US sanctions in order to enable Iran to fight the spread of COVID-19.