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Iran Allies Call On UN Chief To Lift Sanctions To Help Fight Against Coronavirus

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. FILE PHOTO

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday eight countries including Russia, China and Iran called on the UN chief to ask for the lifting of sanctions on various countries to help them fight against coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

The letter from the diplomatic missions of Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to the United Nations called coronavirus "the common enemy of mankind" and warned about the negative impact of the sanctions on the fight against coronavirus.

“We have to recognize that this is a hard - if not impossible - deed for those countries who are currently facing the application of unilateral coercive measures, which are illegal and blatantly violate international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” the letter which the Russian mission to the United Nations published on its Twitter account said.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump are among the world leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies scheduled to have an online summit on Thursday. The world leaders will discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on world economies and the challenges that it poses to healthcare systems around the world.

Russia and China along with Iran, Syria and North Korea are among the countries that the United States has sanctioned for various reasons.

On March 24, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the international community to urgently re-evaluate any sanctions imposed on countries such as Iran, to prevent their healthcare systems from collapse.

"At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended," Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has struck Iran the hardest in the Middle East. The death toll officially announced by Iran has now risen to 2,234 and 29,406 people have been diagnosed and tested positive for the virus.

The United States has repeatedly said its sanctions do not impact humanitarian trade or assistance in case of Iran and has offered direct aid to the Islamic Republic.