US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, March 31, mentioned possibilities of the United States considering easing down its sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic. This comes as the US reported 185,673 cases of the deadly virus with 3,788 cases of death. Previously, the country had imposed sanctions on Iran after President Trump abandoned Tehran’s 2015 multilateral deal in a bid to limit the Islamic nation's nuclear program.
Speaking to International media, Pompeo said that “humanitarian and medical supplies” are exempt from sanctions. However, he acknowledged that broader sanctions may deter many companies to involve in any kind of humanitarian trade with Iran.
On being further asked if the country could change its stance on easing sanctions, Pompeo said that they're evaluated all their policies constantly and they could always re-evaluate their decision on Iran sanctions.
Iran is one of the worst-hit coronavirus infected countries in the world and the Iranian authorities have already resisted a nationwide lockdown. Iran's First Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri in a televised public address said that ‘if necessary, we might impose tougher measures as our priority is the nation’s safety and health”.
Earlier this week, Iranian authorities even reportedly said that they have started mass production of ‘highly accurate’ coronavirus testing kits that could produce results within three hours.
Currently, Iran has not taken any strict quarantine action, although the government has repeatedly urged its citizens to stay confined to their houses in a bid to curb the spread of the infection. However, after weeks of refraining themselves from imposing lockdown or quarantine measures, Tehran decided on March 25 to ban all intercity travel until at least till April 8.
Without imposing an official lockdown, the authorities urged people to stay at home ‘as much as possible’. Schools and universities in some provinces were closed in late February and the measure was later extended to the whole country.
On a positive note, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he had been told by top health experts and doctors that "in some provinces, we have passed the peak of the epidemic and are on a downward trajectory”.
Image Credits: AP