19:52 GMT24 January 2021
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    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (286)

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump has once again reiterated US readiness to provide Iran with aid amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    "If they needed help, if they needed aid, if they needed ventilators … we would certainly be willing to help, what they should do is be smart and make a deal", Trump said at the Sunday White House coronavirus task force briefing.

    On Saturday, Trump said that he had offered help to Iran "if they want; if they need ventilators".

    Iran, a country that is among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has repeatedly said that US sanctions have hindered Tehran's efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus and prevented the imports of essential medical goods to respond to the pandemic.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted earlier in the day that his country will soon be exporting ventilators, implying Tehran has made progress in fighting the pandemic, as the diplomat had previously claimed.

    According to the latest data from Iran's health officials, the country has over 80,800 confirmed coronavirus cases and its death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 5,000. Iran has become the epicentre of the coronavirus infection in its region, with most COVID-19 clusters in neighboring Middle Eastern countries tracing their first cases back to Iran.

    In late March, the permanent United Nations representatives of Russia, China, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, and Venezuela sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling for the lifting of unilateral sanctions imposed on several countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A Russia-drafted General Assembly resolution calling for solidarity and global sanctions relief was blocked by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Georgia.

    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (286)
    health, Javad Zarif, medical supplies, virus, US, Iran, Donald Trump
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