22:41 GMT03 April 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US sanctions on Iran are draining its much-needed resources as the country scrambles to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Saturday.

    The United States ramped up sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and industries in the past two months, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying in February that President Donald Trump’s administration was advocating for snap-back global curbs on Tehran for breaching nuclear commitments.

    "Donald Trump is maliciously tightening US' illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran's resources needed in the fight against #COVID19 — while our citizens are dying from it. The world can no longer be silent as US #Economic Terrorism is supplanted by its #Medical Terrorism," Zarif tweeted.

    Trump has recently offered to help Iran take on the coronavirus outbreak but the lifeline was rejected by President Hassan Rouhani, who accused his US counterpart of hypocrisy for keeping sanctions in place on drug imports.

    The number of confirmed cases of infection in Iran has spiked by over 1,000 to 5,823 since Friday. A health ministry spokesman said 21 more people died from the disease in the past day, bringing the death toll to 145.

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