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Iran Virus Toll Continues to Rise as Tehran Vehemently Rejects US Help

Iran Virus Toll Continues to Rise as Tehran Vehemently Rejects US Help

Monday, 6 April, 2020 - 11:15
A woman wears a protective face mask and gloves, amid fear of the coronavirus, as she sells the masks in Tajrish square in Tehran, Iran April 2, 2020. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Deaths from the coronavirus continued to rise in Iran, with the tally hitting 3,739 as the infections topped 60,500, the health ministry announced on Monday.

Even as the country continues to struggle with the outbreak, it declared that it has never and will not seek help from the United States to fight it.

“Iran has never asked and will not ask America to help Tehran in its fight against the outbreak ... But America should lift all its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a televised news conference.

Supreme leader Ali Khamenei had previously rejected offers from Washington for humanitarian assistance for Iran.

Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when US President Donald Trump quit a 2015 agreement that lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Washington reimposed sanctions which have crippled the Iranian economy.

Iranian authorities say US sanctions have hampered their efforts to curb the outbreak, urging other countries and the United Nations to call on the United States to lift them.

“They (the US) are trying to force Tehran to accept negotiations with America,” Mousavi said.

Trump says the nuclear deal was not strong enough and wants to apply “maximum pressure” on Iran to accept tougher curbs to its nuclear program, halt its ballistic missile work and end its support for malicious proxy forces in the Middle East. Iran has long said it will not negotiate unless Washington lifts sanctions.

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