Mar 30, 2020, 7:12 PM
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Iran should simultaneously fight coronavirus, sanctions: Gov't spox

Tehran, March 30, IRNA – Spokesman of the Iranian Government Ali Rabiei said on Monday through a video press conference that Iran needs to break sanctions and coronavirus at the same time.

In the last year, Iran had big challenges, including the unprecedented US sanctions on Iran, said, Rabiei congratulating Nowruz.

Rabiei said "we learned that going through the challenge is possible through perseverance, rationality, and tolerance", adding that our first duty is to break the coronavirus and sanctions by uniting.

Elaborating on the government’s measures to fight the deadly virus, he said that they started the fight against the coronavirus epidemic in the very first hours. The government was never off even during the Nowruz vacation and even on Farvardin 12 and 13 (March 31 and April 1), which are national holidays, the government will have a meeting on coronavirus.

He said at first, all countries were taken by surprise. Iran announced the first cases honestly and started fighting against it. There are 13,000 empty hospital beds and the recuperation camps made by the military forces have huge capacities. About 60 million people have been through the coronavirus screening procedure, which is rare in the world.

The government spokesman added the necessary budget was provided for the Ministry of Health in order to reinforce the medical centers with equipment and medicine.

Rabiei said that the coronavirus caused trouble for all the world but the natural incident hit Iran harder because of the sanctions.

Iran shut down all the schools and universities, gatherings, cinemas, concerts, and religious places, which has never happened before, he said.

He also expressed condolences over the death of some Iranians, especially members of the medical staff of the country, which shows the “spirits of self-sacrifice” in Iran.

Regarding social distancing, he said that both the health and the economy of the country should be preserved.

Regarding the US sanctions on Iran, he said that it is an international responsibility to pressure the US to remove sanctions on Iran. Implementing the sanctions will endanger international health.

He added some “petro-media” have started a hype saying that Iran is using the coronavirus outbreak as a tool to remove sanctions. This analysis is totally baseless. Everyone knows the US has used the A-bomb in japan, used weakened nuclear weapons in different wars, and killed half a million Iraqi children with sanctions. So do you think with the increased number of coronavirus fatality, they will let go of the sanctions? This idea is naïve.

 Rabieie also touched the issue of Iraq saying that Iran’s “unchangeable policy” is to respect Iraq’s, and all other countries’, national sovereignty and independence.

Regarding the Saudi invasion of Yemen, he also suggested that countries accept UN secretary-general's proposal for ceasefires in all wars now that the coronavirus seen everywhere, adding that repeated invasion if Yemen and avoiding any efforts for peace is “unacceptable.

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