Tehran – The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani in an open letter, has asked Americans to call on their government to end the “dark chapter” of sanctions against the country to aid fight the growing coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. imposed new sanctions on Iran last week, blacklisting five international companies from doing business with the country, Reuters reported.
“Our policy of maximum pressure on the regime continues,” Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iranian affairs, told reporters, according to Reuters, a media outlet of Thomson Reuters Corporation – a Canadian multinational media conglomerate.
“U.S. sanctions are not preventing aid from getting to Iran,” Hook added.
In his letter, Rouhani wrote, “Even under the circumstances of the pandemic, the U.S. government has failed to abandon its malicious policy of maximum pressure; and is thus in practice aiding the spread of this virus with its sanctions.
He said the “war” on the virus can be won only if every nation pulls together.
Rouhani also wrote to a number of world leaders last week, asking them to ignore U.S. sanctions that have “hampered” Iran’s response to coronavirus, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who claimed the sanctions show “utter contempt for human life.”
Iran has been hit the hardest of any other Middle Eastern country by the virus, with one person dying every 10 minutes, according to the country’s health ministry.
Over the past 24 hours, 123 people died, raising the country’s death toll to 1,556, according to healthy ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpoor. It has had 20,610 case
The U.S. sanctions are meant to pressure Iran into abandoning its nuclear ambitions after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Obama-era nuclear agreement in 2018.