© AP Photo / Iranian Presidency Office

US Slaps Iran-Related Sanctions on Three Individuals, Nine Entities - Pompeo

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This comes amid repeated statements by Iran, China, Russia, stressing the need for the US to lift its sanctions against Tehran amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has already claimed hundreds of lives in Iran.

The US has sanctioned nine entities in South Africa, Hong Kong, China, as well as three Iranian nationals over their involvement in the sale of Iranian petrochemical products, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.  

"The Department of State designated nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals - all for knowingly engaging in the significant transactions for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran," Pompeo said.

Earlier, Tehran called on Washington to lift its economic sanctions as they prevent Iran from adequately responding to the Covid-19 outbreak. Other countries, such as Russia and China, have also urged the US to cancel the sanctions against Iran.  

People queue in line to receive packages for precautions against COVID-19 coronavirus disease provided by the Basij, a militia loyal to Iran's Islamic republic establishment, from a booth outside Meydane Valiasr metro station in the capital Tehran on March 15, 2020. - Iran on March 15 announced that the new coronavirus has killed 113 more people, the highest single-day death toll yet in one of the world's worst-affected countries.

As of Tuesday, the death toll from the new coronavirus in Iran had reached 988, with some 16,000 infected. 

The US reimposed its economic sanctions on Iran in 2018 after accusing Tehran of breaching the 2015 nuclear deal.