- The EU is working to support Iran and Venezuela through the IMF.
- The American government offered humanitarian aid, but refused to lift sanctions.
- There are reports that Iran is obscuring the severity of the epidemic, and the death toll may be several times higher than reported.
The European Union has pledged €20 million in aid to help Iran mitigate the effects of coronavirus, which is ravaging the economy. According to EU Foreign Affairs representative, Josep Borrell, “we’ve not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help, but there is some €20 million in the pipeline . . . that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks.”
He additionally revealed that the bloc was working to support Venezuela through the IMF. Details of the arrangement have, however, not been publicized. The two countries are currently reeling from sanctions imposed by the US administration.
A few days ago, Iran received a humanitarian aid offer from the American government to help combat the epidemic. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, however, tagged the move as suspicious while reiterating that America was Iran’s archenemy. “I do not know how real this accusation is but when it exists, who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication? Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more,“ he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has lambasted the leader for his assertion, and accused him of concocting conspiracy theories and using fear-mongering to support his own agendas. He underscored that the US would continue to ignore requests to lift the sanctions while citing Iran’s continued efforts to fund terror groups in the region. The two countries are currently locked in a proxy war.
The Iranian administration has publicly lamented the prohibitions and called upon the government to consider revoking them to allow humanitarian aid. Washington has labeled this a PR move and underlined that humanitarian aid has always been exempted from sanctions.
The following is an excerpt from a statement issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on this.
The whole world should know that humanitarian assistance to Iran is wide open, it’s not sanctioned. We are doing everything we can to facilitate the humanitarian assistance moving in and to make sure that the financial transactions connected to that can take place as well. There is no sanction on medicines going to Iran, there is no sanctions on humanitarian assistance going into that country.
There are reports that Iran is obscuring the severity of the epidemic. Although official figures indicate that about 1,800 people have died, actual numbers are feared to be around 8,800. This is going by statistics released by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is outlawed in the country.
Over a dozen Iranian clerics, lawmakers, and politicians have lost their lives to the ailment. Among the most notable officials is Ayatollah Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani, 78. He was a representative for Tehran Province in the Assembly of Experts. The body has (theoretical) veto power over policies put forward by the country’s Supreme Leader.