US Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called on President Donald Trump to ease sanctions imposed on Iran as the country struggles to fight the coronavirus outbreak which has killed over 2,800 people. According to reports, over three dozen US politicians have signed the letter asking Trump to provide humanitarian aid to Tehran amid the COVID-19 crisis and it was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
The politicians who have signed the public letter, include names like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Jared Huffman, Representative Barbara Lee. The demand came less than a week after the United States imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals and companies allegedly linked to the Iranian military. The letter also reminded Trump about the eased sanctions and delivered aid to Iran by Bush administration following a deadly earthquake near Bam in 2003.
The letter states that the sanctions prevent international financial transactions and shipping, any trade, including that of medicines and medical equipment with Iran. As per reports, many companies that provide medical equipment have stopped shipping to Iran because their banks refuse to handle the transactions. The Iranian leadership had earlier refused to take any humanitarian assistance offered by the United States following coronavirus escalation in the Islamic republic. Tehran accused Washington of hampering their fight against coronavirus by not revoking harsh sanctions imposed following the withdrawal of the United States from the Obama-era nuclear deal.
COVID-19 has claimed more than 42,300 lives across the world and has infected more than 8,59,400 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China was the most affected country until last week before Italy and Spain surpassed it to record the most number of deaths anywhere in the world due to COVID-19. The United States and France are on the verge of overtaking China in terms of the number of deaths recorded in these countries. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
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