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Rouhani Appeals To Other Countries To Ignore US Sanctions In Light Of Coronavirus Threat

President Hassan Rouhani chairing a meeting of coronavirus task force in Tehran, March 14, 2020

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in a letter to several heads of foreign governments has asked their help in breaking U.S. sanctions, considering the country’s coronavirus epidemic.

In the letter Rouhani has underlined that “Managing such a great crisis and danger is not possible by any single country alone” especially if that country faces difficulties “in access to international financial markets” and to goods it needs.

According to foreign minister Javad Zarif, Rouhani in his letter has said that U.S. sanctions have created obstacles to the treatment of coronavirus patients. In a tweet about the Rouhani letter, Zarif says, “Viruses recognize no politics or geography. Nor should we”.

Iranian media also quote Zarif's tweet about Rouhani's letter and there is no information which countries were the recipients of the appeal.

Top Iranian officials have been raising the issue of U.S. sanctions in relation with the deadly epidemic that has engulfed the country killing hundreds.

U.S. President Donald Trump has offered several times to assist Iran against the disease, but Tehran has responded that these are simply public relations gestures and if the United States is serious, it should lift its economic sanctions.

The State Department has also offered American assistance through official Swiss diplomatic channels.

Some Democratic U.S. politicians, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren have asked for suspension of sanctions because of the epidemic.

As Iranian leaders demand the lifting of American sanctions, their proxies in Iraq again launched two attacks on military bases in Iraq hosting U.S. and coalition troops in recent days. The United States retaliated against the first attack, hitting five ammunition depots used by Kataib Hezbollah group in Iraq.