Zarif: US sanctions have doubled Iran's suffering from coronavirus

Iranian Foreign Minister again criticizes US sanctions on his country, calls on the world not to comply with them.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday once again blasted the US sanctions on his country, saying the sanctions have doubled Iranians' suffering from the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.

"These days the world is fighting against a common challenge. This time, it is not related to the borders and interests but it is about humanity, living, and staying," Zarif said, according to the Xinhua news agency.

"What doubles the suffering of Iranians, what limits their choices in crisis management, and what aggravates concerns for citizens' livelihood is that sanctions and coronavirus are coming at the same time," he added.

Zarif called for a global "moral will" against the US excessive demands, noting that "complying with sanctions should not lead to more war crimes."

The comments come a day after the Iranian Foreign Minister denounced the US for continuing the sanctions on his country amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“US has gone from sabotage & assassinations to waging an economic war & economic terrorism on Iranians—to medical terror amidst COVID-19. This even ‘exceeds what would be permissible on the battlefield,’" Zarif tweeted.

“STOP aiding WAR CRIMES. STOP obeying IMMORAL & ILLEGAL US sanctions,” he added.

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.

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

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week made clear that Iran had no intention of accepting the United States’ offer of humanitarian assistance and added that United States should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran to contain the virus.

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

Iran is the worst-hit country by the virus in the Middle East. On Monday, the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education reported that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country stood at 41,495 and the number of deaths reached 2,757.