Biden joins US Democrats in call for sanctions relief on Iran amid coronavirus outbreak

TEHRAN, Apr. 03 (MNA) – Former US vice president and 2020 presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, has called on the Trump administration to immediately lift Iran sanctions which have hampered the country's efforts to contain the coronavirus.

In a statement on Thursday, Biden highlighted Iran’s struggle “to contain one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the world” and that the “Iranian people are hurting desperately.”

The sanctions were reinstated in 2018 after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

Biden added that “it makes no sense, in a global health crisis, to compound that failed strategy with cruelty by inhibiting access to needed humanitarian assistance. Whatever our profound differences with the Iranian government, we should support the Iranian people.”

Biden suggested issuing “broad licenses” to pharmaceutical and medical device companies as a means to facilitate the provision of medical treatment by international banks, transportation firms and insurers and also supplying groups and international aid organizations with new sanctions guidance that would inform them as to how to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, more than 30 members of the US Congress — including Senators Bernie Sanders and Edward J. Markey as well as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, wrote a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, urging the suspension of US sanction on Iran as a humanitarian gesture to 80 million Iranian people at this crucial time.

Among the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19, Iran said 50,468 people contracted the disease, and 3,160 died as of Thursday.


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