Iran has reported its highest toll within 24 hours since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country on Sunday. According to reports Iran’s health ministry on Sunday reported 49 new deaths from COVID-19.
The total death toll now stands at 194, and with 743 new infections confirmed on Sunday, 6,566 people are affected across the 31 provinces of Iran.
Adding to its pain, Iran also has concerns regarding the availability of diagnostic equipment because of the ban that the United States has imposed on the country.
“Our people know that you are lying”
Addressing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington, United States President Donald Trump said that the country is willing to aid Iran with the outbreak.
“If we can help the Iranians with this problem, we are certainly willing to do so… All they have to do is ask. We will have great professionals over there,” Trump said.
Rejecting this offer to help, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that “vicious” American sanctions are depriving the country of medicine. He also said that if the US really wants to help Iran fight novel coronavirus, it should lift the sanctions, including a ban on importing medical supplies.
“Our people know well that you are lying, that you are not telling the truth,” Rouhani said at the cabinet meeting.
“If you are really telling the truth, you should at least lift your sanctions on medicines. This would be the first step. And say that you have done wrong to the Iranian nation so far and offer an apology,” he added.
Trump-aligned pressure group targets medicine sale to Iran
Meanwhile, a report of The Intercept, suggest that an anti-Iran pressure group with close ties to the Trump administration is urging major pharmaceutical companies to “end their Iran business.”
The pressure group called United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is now focussing on companies with special licenses— categorized under a broadly defined “humanitarian exemption” — to conduct trade with Iran.
UANI also has an Iran business registry, that names and shames companies it believes are conducting business with Iran, and increases Iran’s economic isolation.
Nine pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device corporations, all with special licenses, are listed on UANI’s business registry. Companies urged by UANI to “end their Iran business” include Bayer, Merck, Pfizer, Genzyme, AirSep, Medrad, Becton, Dickinson & Company, Eli Lilly, and Abbott Laboratories.
Iran ‘a role model for world’: WHO
Meanwhile appreciating Iran’s effort the Regional Emergency Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Richard Brennan said, “Iran benefits from one of the strongest healthcare systems in the region. It has made notable achievements in the field of battling coronavirus.”
He also said that Iran’s fight would remain a role model for the rest of the world.
As the virus is slowly spreading tearing the heart out of Iran, the trade war on the country becomes intolerable on humanitarian grounds. The “maximum pressure strategy” is a cruel and inhuman tactic thrown at an already stigmatized country. It can never be a legitimate foreign policy tool, by any rationale.