Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended his government’s action to combat the unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus while also dealing with a crippled economy on March 29. According to reports, as 2,640 have died in Iran due to COVID-19 infection, Rouhani said that it was “not a time for political war”. While the heavy sanctions imposed by the United States have taken a toll on Iran’s economy, Rouhani called health as the country’s principle along with the security of the society.
The global death toll of coronavirus outbreak has reached 33,983 and it has increased the challenges that leaders across the world face of striking a balance between imposing harsh measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 but also maintain the economy. From stimulus packages to major cities under lockdown, the pandemic has forced countries to take necessary steps but Hassan Rouhani has said that it is “not the time to gather followers”. Iran has emerged as one of the world’s hardest-hit countries from the coronavirus and has reported at least 38,309 infections.
“Health is a principle for us, but the production and security of society is also a principle for us,” Rouhani said at a Cabinet meeting. “We must put these principles together to reach a final decision.”
“This is not the time to gather followers,” he added. “This is not a time for political war.”
When US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal of 2015 in May 2018, it also imposed heavy sanctions on Iran in a bid to prevent Tehran from selling oil on international markets. However, Iran has urged the international community to ease the sanctions and is reportedly seeking a loan worth $5 billion from the International Monetary fund.
Last week, according to reports, even the United Nations chief had called for ‘urgent re-evaluation’ of sanctions imposed on countries like Iran in the wake of the pandemic and prevent medical systems from collapsing. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet reportedly said that during these challenging times as the highly contagious virus continues to tighten its grip around the world, “sectoral sanctions should be eased” for both humanitarian and global public health reasons.