Zhao Lijian

China says US should lifts sanctions as Iran struggles with virus outbreak

Press TV – China has slammed continued American economic pressure on Iran as the country is struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has affected thousands of people.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that US bans on Iran’s import of medicine and medical gear would only deteriorate the outbreak of corinavirus.

Zhao said that unilateral American sanctions on Iran go against the spirit of humanity as the country is trying to contain the virus, according to an excerpt of his remarks carried by the state-run Xinhua.

He said Washington should move to lift the sanctions and stop hampering efforts both by Iran and the international community to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The comments come as Iran on Thursday reported 591 new infections and 15 new deaths from coronavirus. That brought the total number of confirmed cases in Iran to 3,513 while deaths have reached 107 since the outbreak began in the country on February 19.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday dismissed US offers for helping Iran in the fight against coronavirus, saying the Americans should lift bans on Iran’s access to medicines if they are really genuine in their humanitarian claims.

Despite the sanctions, Iran has mobilized all its resources to fight coronavirus with authorities saying that hundreds of people have been released from hospitals over the past days after recovering from the illness.

The Chinese spokesman said, however, that his country would continue to help Iran battle the spread of coronavirus.

Zhao said that China and Iran are comprehensive strategic partners that have always stood firmly together and supported and helped each other in times of difficulties.