Rouhani: If the US wants to help, it should lift the sanctions

Iranian President says Iran has no intention of accepting the United States’ offer of assistance to help it deal with coronavirus.

Elad Benari ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made clear on Monday that Iran had no intention of accepting the United States’ offer of humanitarian assistance to help it deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

He added that United States should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran to contain the virus.

“American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” Rouhani said in a televised speech, according to Reuters.

“You have blocked Iran’s oil exports, you have stopped Iran’s banking transactions ... Your help offer is the biggest lie in the history,” he added.

Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with over 1,800 deaths and 23,049 infected people.

The virus 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.

Recently, 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.

While Iran faces US sanctions which block the country from selling its crude oil and accessing international financial markets, Washington has offered Iran help in fighting the coronavirus.

Rouhani’s comments come a day after Khamenei refused US assistance to fight COVID-19, claiming the virus could be man-made by America.

Hossein Salami, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, also claimed earlier this month that the coronavirus outbreak “may be the product of the American biological invasion.”



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