EghtesadOnline: The United States needs to remove restrictions on the trade of medical products if it is truthful about its offer of helping contain the new coronavirus outbreak in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said.
The virus that emerged in China in December and later spread worldwide has so far killed nearly a hundred people in Iran, putting the country among the top three regions with the highest rates of mortality, according to Financial Tribune.
US President Donald Trump, who has pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, offered to help with the coronavirus response.
"If we can help the Iranians with this problem, we are certainly willing to do so … All they have to do is ask. We will have great professionals over there," he said on Saturday, AFP reported.
Rouhani described it as a gesture behind a "mask of compassion" while the US has been taking the most evil measures against the Iranian nation for the past two years.
"If you are truthful, at least remove the sanctions on medicine. This is the first step," Rouhani was quoted as saying by President.ir.
He added that what Washington needs to do is to announce that banking transactions for the purchase of medicine and shipping of medical equipment and food face no restriction.
Although humanitarian goods are apparently exempt from American sanctions, restrictions on other sectors, including banking and transport, have affected the supply of these products for Iran.
Rouhani thanked all countries and organizations that have helped Iran by sending medical equipment, including China, France, Germany and Britain, as well as the World Health Organization.
He tasked all relevant organizations to improve electronic services so that people won’t have to leave their homes and called on the state television and artists to produce entertaining programs to lift the public spirit.
The president thanked the doctors and other medical personnel for their devoted services throughout the epidemic as well as those in other sectors who work hard to meet public needs such as energy, water, transport and entertainment during the crisis.
He, however, expressed regret that while a majority of the nation have joined hands to overcome the problems, a small group of people are using the situation as an opportunity to gain financial benefit by overcharging customers or hoarding goods to sell at higher prices in the future.
Rouhani also criticized those who heighten public anxiety by spreading propaganda and false news.
While offering help to Iran on Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called into doubt Iran's willingness to share information about the situation.
"Enemies of the Iranian people … want to take people's peace and trust away from them… They provide false statistics and comments and say people are not being told the truth," he said, stressing that the Health Ministry was immediately tasked to provide precise information about the disease when it broke out.