Tensions are already running high between the United States and Iran, with the COVID-19 pandemic only adding to the threat of escalation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wants to convince the rest of the world that U.S. sanctions against the country should be lifted as it tries to contain the spread of the deadly virus. He accuses America of “medical terror,” claiming that sanctions block Tehran from procuring necessary medical supplies and, consequently, the country needs a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Washington — intent on forcing Iran into spending domestically rather than on regional allies as it flouts the limits of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — maintains that Iran can benefit from humanitarian aid.
Deliveries from Switzerland, China, and other Gulf Arab countries have already arrived, officials note, adding that Tehran even has insisted that it can manufacture its own masks and gloves.
Some humanitarian groups, however, say America’s sanctions do affect Iran’s access to ventilators and other key equipment and that, even for transactions that are authorized, some international firms are skittish about crossing the United States.
source: Associated Press