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US Tells Khamenei To Use 'Billions In Hedge Fund' To Combat Coronavirus

U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus stands at the lectern during a press conference at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, June 10, 2019

In a tweet on Monday, the U.S. Department of State spokesperson replied to Iranian authorities' allegations that the United States has waged a war of "medical terrorism" against Iran and said the regime could access the billions in Khamenei's "tax-free hedge fund" to fight the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic.

"It's not the sanctions. It's the regime," Morgan Ortagus wrote in her tweet.

In a tweet, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif had said the United States has "gone from sabotage and assassinations to waging and economic war and economic terrorism on Iranians to medical terror amidst COVID-19".

"This even 'exceeds what would be permissible on the battlefield'," Zarif said and charged that the United States should stop "aiding war crimes". He also called on other countries to stop "obeying immoral and illegal sanctions".

Iranian authorities have in recent days waged a new wave of publishing open letters to world leaders and organizations about the U.S. sanctions.

Mohsen Hashemi, Chairman of Tehran City Council and reformist politician on Tuesday said he will write a letter to city council heads of city council chairmen and tell them about "the necessity of scrapping sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic".

A number of student activists have also written an open letter to the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and urged her to demand the sanctions on Iran to be lifted so that medical supplies could be delivered to Iran and allow Iran to export products to procure the financial resources required for fighting the virus.

The government of the United States insists that its sanctions do not affect the delivery of medical supplies to Iran and that Iranian companies in recent weeks have had no impediment in importing medicine and medical equipment.

On March 25 the Iranian President said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started taking "good measures to [influence the international] public opinion to say no to sanctions".

Abbas Abdi, a reformist politician and journalist with close relations with the government of Hassan Rouhani on March 11 said the repeated calls and instigation of public opinion at the international level to urge the removal of sanctions shows that the Iranian president thinks it is now "the best chance to resolve the issue of sanctions and begin talks [with the United States].