US should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran: Rouhani

Source:Reuters Published: 2020/3/23 17:28:41

The US should lift sanctions if Washington wants to help Iran to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday, adding that Iran had no intention of accepting Washington's offer of humanitarian assistance. 

"American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions ... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak," Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its longtime foe. But the country's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday rejected the offer.

Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when US President Donald Trump exited Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

"U.S. is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID19. The ONLY remedy: DEFY U.S. mass punishment. MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative," Tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday.

But the US has sent Iran a blunt message: The spread of the virus will not save it from US sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy.

"You have blocked Iran's oil exports, you have stopped Iran's banking transactions... Your help offer is the biggest lie in the history," Rouhani said.


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