Rouhani: Countries should pressure US to lift sanctions

Iranian President speaks to French counterpart, says friendly countries should pressure US to lift its "cruel and one-sided" sanctions.

Elad Benari ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday said that friendly countries should pressure the United States to lift its "cruel and one-sided" sanctions against Iran as the country struggles to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Rouhani made the remarks in a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

"The US government has not only violated international regulations by imposing illegal sanctions on Iran, but is also breaching health regulations ratified by the World Health Organization in 2005 through its measures under the current circumstances," Rouhani said.

"The removal of sanctions and fulfillment of commitments by Europe are a necessity, which has become more significant in the current specific situation," he added.

The Elysée Palace said in a statement that Macron called on Iran to respect its nuclear obligations, adding that this was the moment when the international community must come together to fight the coronavirus.

"He (Macron) hoped that Iran would turn to the respect of its nuclear obligations, refrain from taking new measures contrary to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and contribute to the easing of regional tensions," said the statement, according to Reuters.

Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran after President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Iran has ripped the US for continuing to impose sanctions on the country as it is deals with the coronavirus.

Rouhani made clear recently 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.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the United States may consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the coronavirus epidemic though he gave no concrete sign it plans to do so.

Iran is the worst-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East, with 60,500 confirmed cases and 3,739 deaths so far.

France, along with Britain and Germany, has been trying to save the nuclear deal as the three countries have vowed to help Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed by the US.

Iran has rejected the European signatories’ steps as insufficient and, in fact, blamed Europe for its scaling back its commitments under the deal.