- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2020

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday said the ongoing sanctions the U.S. is applying to Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic is “more inhumane than ever,” as the country struggles to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Iran has reported 83,505 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, 5,209 deaths and 59,273 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Iran has a population of 81.8 million and has the second most coronavirus cases in the Middle East behind Turkey.

“In these difficult circumstances, the US pressure on the Iranian people has been more inhumane than ever, and its continuation is a brutal crime against a great nation and against all human principles and international regulations,” Mr. Rouhani said in a statement posted to his official website.

President Trump in 2018 reimposed sweeping economic sanctions on Iran after pulling out of a multilateral nuclear accord citing Iran’s violations of the agreement.

Iranian officials have blamed the crippling U.S. sanctions for the massive spread of the virus and high death toll, and have urged the Trump administration to lift some sanctions until the pandemic has passed.

Officials in the U.S. have maintained that assistance has and continues to be available to Iran and is not subjected to any sanctions, but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reportedly rejected the offers.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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