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As Iran reels from coronavirus, Zarif calls for lifting of US sanctions

Iran’s foreign minister demands the United States immediately halt what he calls a “campaign of economic terrorism” and lift sanctions, saying they have made it increasingly difficult for the country to export oil and virtually impossible to import medicine and medical equipment, including to identify and treat coronavirus patients.

Mohammad Javad Zarif says in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that US sanctions have also left thousands of Iranians stranded abroad and severely disrupted air links with Europe. And he says they have led to what he called “Google’s immoral censoring” of a new government app designed to help Iranians identify potential symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

He says it is “imperative that the government of the United States immediately halt its campaign of economic terrorism against the Iranian people and lift all sanctions it has illegally imposed on my country,” in violation of the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers which the US pulled out of in 2018.

“To this end,” Zarif says, “It is imperative that the United Nations and its member states join the Iranian people in demanding that the government of the United States abandon its malign and fruitless approach against Iran.”

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has swept across Iran, with the Health Ministry announcing today that in the past 24 hours 75 people had died and more than 1,000 new cases had been confirmed, bringing the death toll to 429 and confirmed cases to 10,075.