President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday the United States should lift “illegal” sanctions on Iran to prove its sincerity in offering help to the Islamic Republic in its battle against the novel coronavirus.
“If the Americans are honest and want to take action in the coronavirus outbreak, the only way is to end Iran's illegal sanctions,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.
Rouhani deplored the US for tightening its sanctions on the Iranian nation as Iran is grappling with the outbreak which he said has had “very severe economic consequences” for the country.
He said sanctions has hampered Iran’s efforts to obtain medical and food supplies.
“With the intensification of the cruel and inhumane US sanctions against Iran, today we are facing many problems, even in procuring medical equipment and foodstuff,” Rouhani said.
The president also expressed gratitude to Japan for providing Iran with humanitarian aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He further called for collective efforts to reduce regional and international tensions.
“It is unfortunate that we have witnessed the creation of tensions by the US in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region, (and indeed) regional tensions have always been triggered by the US.”
The two heads of state further stressed the need for mutual cooperation in the battle with respiratory disease and for sharing the experiences in containing the virus.
Abe expressed concern about the continuation of tensions in West Asia and hailed Iran as a major and influential country in establishing regional peace and calm.
“Tokyo will keep up efforts and cooperation with Tehran in this regard,” Abe said.
The Japanese premier also criticized the US for imposing more sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak and stressed that humanitarian measures should be taken by all countries in the current situation.
Tasnim contributed to this story.