The United States on Tuesday requested Tehran to release all American prisoners held in Iranian jails as the coronavirus outbreak escalates in the country and spreads through its prisons. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a press statement on March 10 called for humanitarian release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Iran. Secretary Pompeo in his statement stated, "Reports that COVID-19 has spread to Iranian prisons are deeply troubling and demand nothing less than the full and immediate release of all American citizens."
Mike Pompeo in his statement further pointed out, "The Iranian regime recently released 70,000 prisoners due to the outbreak of COVID-19, demonstrating its ability to grant clemency and show mercy. Yet it continues to unjustly detain several American citizens, without cause or justification." Pompeo in his statement urged other nations to seek a reciprocal humanitarian gesture by the Iranian regime in case they are considering providing Tehran with humanitarian assistance to battle COVID-19.
Iran is the third most affected country after China, the epicentre of the disease. Iran on Tuesday recorded the most number of deaths in a single day as 54 people lost their lives due to coronavirus outbreak. So far, Iran has reported 291 deaths from the novel coronavirus, which includes top politicians and government officials. On March 7, a recently elected conservative member of parliament from Tehran became one of the seven politicians in the country to die of coronavirus. Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was the first senior official to die from the virus on March 2.
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has claimed more than 4,200 lives across the globe and has infected over 1,19,000 people around the world since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.