The United States is exploring ways to assist Iran in dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak, but believes Tehran has enough financial resources of its own to deal with the situation, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Friday.
“The President [Donald Trump] right now is focused very much on the American people, but we can do two things at the same time. We are looking to see what we can do to help”, Hook told a gathering of experts and reporters in Washington.
Hook claimed that Iran had enough resources of its own, but preferred to finance the campaign of regional influence and expansion through proxies.
“This regime has the money that it needs to manage its coronavirus crisis,” Hook said. “Imagine if this regime had spent 10 percent on healthcare services for the people that it spent supporting [President Bashar] Assad in Syria. The regime would probably be in a much different place now. But they don’t.”
On Thursday, the US Treasury Department lifted some sanctions on Iran’s central bank for shipments of humanitarian supplies as a Swiss channel for relief goods became fully operational.
Hook said the US government was open to possible additional adjustments to accommodate Iran’s needs in fighting the novel coronavirus, including lifting a ban on the sale of respirators.
Over the last 40 years of animosity, the United States has offered assistance to Iran on a fairly regular basis when the country faced natural disasters or other calamities, but the aid was routinely rejected, Hook added.