Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 29 September 2020

Iran's friends should have defied US sanctions during pandemic, Rouhani says

He made the comments despite Iran receiving medical aid from Germany, Britain and France

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on September 2, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani chairing a cabinet meeting in Tehran. AFP
A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on September 2, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani chairing a cabinet meeting in Tehran. AFP

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani bemoaned Irans friends on Saturday for not standing up to the United States and breaking crippling sanctions during the coronavirus pandemic.

He also said that if the United States had a "bit of humanity or brain," it would have lifted sanctions on Iran for the duration of the health crisis.

But the country received medical aid from Germany, Britain and France through a US sanctions workaround.

The UAE has also sent two planes loaded with critical medical aid to Iran to support the country's fight against coronavirus.

The two aircraft, which took off from Abu Dhabi in March, contained more than 32 tonnes of supplies, including thousands of pairs of gloves, surgical masks and protective equipment.

Iran, with over 380,000 registered cases and over 22,000 deaths from the coronavirus, is one of the countries worst-hit by the pandemic in the Middle East.

"Over the past months since the coronavirus arrived in our country... no one came to our help," Mr Rouhani said in remarks broadcast live on Iranian state television.

If the United States "had a bit of humanity and brain," he said, it would have offered to "lift the sanctions for a year because of the coronavirus."

But the United States is far more heartless and evil than those things," he added.

Instead, it "imposed new sanctions and pressures on us over these past seven months of coronavirus," Mr Rouhani said.

At the same time, he said, not a single friendly country told us that in this time of coronavirus and hardship and for the sake of humanity we will stand up to America'" and do business with Iran despite threats of US retaliation.

The United States has threatened to impose sanctions on whoever conducts business with Iran.

The sanctions are part of the US effort to slash Iranian revenues after US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Updated: September 5, 2020 02:39 PM

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