Iran’s president stated Wednesday that the U.S. had lost a historic opportunity to elevate sanctions on his country over COVID-19 while adding that the penalties had not hampered Tehran’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the possibility that Washington may consider easing sanctions on Iran and different nations to help fight the coronavirus; however, he gave no concrete signal it plans to do so.
The coronavirus has killed 2,898 people and infected 44,606 in Iran, making it the most-affected country in the Middle East and prompting China and the United Nations to urge the U.S. to ease sanctions.
Friction between Tehran and Washington has increased since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six countries and re-imposed sanctions, crippling Iran’s financial system.
Trump has adopted a “maximum stress” policy on Iran aimed toward persuading Tehran to negotiate a broader deal that further restrictions its nuclear program, limits its missile program, and curbs its use of proxy forces in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Washington has provided humanitarian aid to its longtime foe. However, Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has dismissed the offer.
Several nations, along with the United Arab Emirates, China, Britain, France, Qatar, and Turkey, have sent freight of medical supplies, including gloves and surgical masks, to Iran.