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US Renews Restrictions On Iran's Nuclear Program For 60 Days Amid COVID-19 Crisis

While the coronavirus outbreak continues to tighten its grip around the world, the US renewed the existing sanctions on Iran on March 30 for 60 more days.

US

While the coronavirus outbreak continues to tighten its grip around the world, the United States renewed the existing sanctions on Iran on March 30 for 60 additional days while permitting Russian, European, and Chinese firms to continue their work on Islamic Republic’s civilian nuclear facilities without American penalities. As the global death toll due to coronavirus rises to 37,830and Iran reported 2,757 fatalities due to COVID-19 infections, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the waiver extensions but decided to continue to impose restrictions on Tehran. 

“Iran’s continued expansion of nuclear activities is unacceptable. The regime’s nuclear extortion is among the greatest threats to international peace and security,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The renewal of restrictions on Iran came despite the reports that current and former US officials opposed the move. According to international media reports, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchib also initiated a debate around the subject of US President Donald Trump’s administration being criticised for continue to impose restrictions at the time when the countries are combatting the unprecedented outbreak of coronavirus. 

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Iran balancing sanctions, pandemic

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 thousands 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 continues to spike, it has also 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 41,495 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.”

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