The State Department declared that “the U.S. stands with the people of Iran during the public health crisis caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The U.S. government is prepared to assist the Iranian people in their response efforts. This offer of support to the Iranian people... has been formally conveyed to Iran through the Government of Switzerland”. Urging Tehran “to cooperate fully and transparently with international aid and health organisations”, the statement went on to underscore “that certain donations to Iran intended to relieve human suffering, including the donation of medicine, are exempt from U.S. sanctions”. On 4 March, President Rouhani asserted that “unfortunately, those who even imposed drugs and food sanctions on people have done the most vicious act against the Iranian people in these past two years; they came up with a mask of compassion pretending to help… you [ie, the U.S.] had better lift the drug sanctions at least”.
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