UK presses US to ease Iran sanctions to help fight coronavirus

The Guardian – Tehran says 1,135 have died and experts fear true figure could be five times as high

The UK is privately pressing the US to ease sanctions on Iran to help it fight the growing coronavirus outbreak.

Official figures published by the Iranian health ministry on Wednesday said 1,135 have so far died in Iran and 17,361 have been infected. A total of 147 were recorded as dying in the past 24 hours, a new daily record.

The Iranian embassy in London appealed for sanctions to be lifted and warned the country’s hospitals were badly overstretched.

The US insists it has offered to provide Iran with practical help through the World Health Organization, but the Iranians have rejected any help if it does not involve lifting US sanctions.

A World Health Organization official said he believed the Iranian health ministry figures underestimated the true numbers by a fifth – which would mean more than 5,600 people have died.

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