Coronavirus: Khan, Others Call for End of Sanctions Against Iran

  • The Pakistani Prime Minister's remarks came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had asked him in a letter to help fight the Coronavirus.
  • In addition to Russia and Pakistan, China has also called on the United States to lift sanctions on Iran as soon as possible.
  • US Special Envoy for Iranian Affairs Brian Hook recalled that US sanctions do not prevent food and drug delivery.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the lifting of “unfair” US sanctions against Iran. “I would stress and insist to the international community to lift the sanctions on Iran,” Khan said. “It is very unjust they are dealing with such a large outbreak on one side, and on the other, they are facing international sanctions.”

Imran Khan is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Pakistan and the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Before entering politics, Khan was an international cricketer and captain of Pakistan national cricket team, leading the team to the victory in 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Khan made his remarks at a news conference in Islamabad on Friday. The Pakistani Prime Minister’s remarks came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had asked him in a letter to help fight the Coronavirus. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s office did not divulge details of Rouhani’s letter. Khan had earlier stated that he was ready to mediate to resolve disputes between Iran and the United States.

Pakistan has not been as hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as Iran. In the country, according to the latest statistics, 454 people have had a coronavirus test, and the results were positive. So far, at least four people have died from coronavirus in Pakistan, which neighbors Iran and shares a 3 kilometer-long border. Pakistan closed its only border crossing with Iran in Balochistan last week to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Hundreds of Pakistani pilgrims returned to Iran before the border was closed.

Iran’s Support from the International Community

With the unprecedented outbreak of the Coronavirus in Iran, which has become the main focus of the outbreak in the Middle East, Rouhani urged some heads of state to pressure the United States to lift the sanctions. According to press reports, the Iranian president wrote in his letters that US sanctions are hampering the country’s fight against the Coronavirus.

“Moscow has received a letter from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Russian leader Vladimir Putin on combating the Coronavirus and ready to assist Tehran in combating the outbreak,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. Referring to “unlawful US sanctions that hinder normal cooperation and assistance to Iran,” Ryabkov said Russia wants the United States to “abandon narrow-minded political approaches against Iran.”

In addition to Russia and Pakistan, China has also called on the United States to lift sanctions on Iran as soon as possible because of the coronavirus. Several European countries are also said to be trying to gain diplomatic approval by lifting all or part of the sanctions on Iran through diplomatic channels. In this regard, the Iranian delegation to the United Nations issued a statement protesting the continued US sanctions in light of the spread of the Coronavirus.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

“The US sanctions make it almost impossible for Iranians to import the drugs and medical equipment they need, thus seriously undermining our national efforts to tackle the disease,” the statement said. The statement by the Iranian delegation to the United Nations concludes, “in the current situation and given the nature of this epidemic, the international community should urge the United States to quickly lift all sanctions it has imposed on Iran illegally so that Iran can control coronavirus outbreak.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet Tuesday that sanctions have weakened Iran’s ability to respond to the coronavirus.

America’s Stubbornness in the Face of Sanctions

There has been no change in US policy on sanctions against the Islamic Republic. According to diplomatic sources, the White House will not reduce “maximum pressure” on Iran because it considers it necessary to force the Islamic Republic to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs and change Iran’s behavior in the Middle East.

“Our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue,” said Brian Hook, the US Special Envoy for Iranian Affairs. He recalled that US sanctions do not prevent “international aid to Iran in the area of ​​food and drug delivery.”

In Iran, about 20,610 people have been infected with the coronavirus so far, and nearly 1,556 have died. President Donald Trump has imposed severe sanctions on Iran since May 5 last year, calling for a “maximum pressure” policy that has crippled Iran’s industries and drastically reduced its oil revenues.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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