Iranian president: US could lift sanctions if it wants to help

Iranian president: US could lift sanctions if it wants to help
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the U.S. should lift sanctions on Tehran if it wants to help with the nation’s coronavirus outbreak.

“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, Reuters reported.

Rouhani reiterated comments by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejecting the U.S.’s offer of humanitarian aid.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also blamed U.S. sanctions for the virus’s toll in Iran, the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East, tweeting, “U.S. is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID19. The ONLY remedy: DEFY U.S. mass punishment. MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative.”

As of Monday morning, 127 people had died of the virus in Iran in the preceding 24 hours, with 1,812 deaths in all. The total number cases in Iran had reached 23,049 as of Monday, Reuters reported.

On Sunday, Khamenei echoed conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus.

“Several times Americans have offered to help us to fight the pandemic," he said. "That is strange because you face shortages in America. Also you are accused of creating this virus.”