11:34 GMT20 September 2020
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    Relations between Iran and the United States sank to new lows unseen since immediately after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 over the past two years, with Washington unilaterally pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and tensions flaring amid a string of tanker seizures, drone shootdowns, assassinations and missile strikes.

    The current US administration is the worst and “most evil” in America’s history, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said.

    “The worst and most evil government that the United States has had is at work. What government do you know which assassinates our military commander during a mission?” Rouhani asked, referring to the January killing of Revolutionary Guards Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

    The US “has always been a terrorist state,” and has “always acted against independent nations,” Rouhani suggested, but the enormity of the crimes of the current administration are “unprecedented,” particularly amid the raging global coronavirus crisis.

    “I cannot remember in America a White House that was so inhumane, stony-hearted, so ruthless, so incompetent, so unfamiliar. When you look at the secretary of state, it’s as if he has not read the ABCs of politics,” Rouhani said, referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his string of bellicose remarks against Tehran.

    On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of using its resources to "foment terror across the world" instead of using them to deal with the coronavirus health crisis.

    Rouhani made the remarks on Wednesday during an address to cabinet, where he said that although every nation is currently experiencing the hard “tests” brought on by the coronavirus, this is particularly true for Iran and its people, because no other nation has been under the same kind of “siege” that Iran has faced over the past two years of heavy US sanctions.

    Iran was one of the first countries outside China to face a major outbreak of COVID-19, and has slammed Washington repeatedly over its sanctions preventing the import of medical supplies and other critical resources. The Trump administration also used its heft in the International Monetary Fund to block an emergency $5 billion loan to the country. In the months since, the country has managed to reduce infections, soften lockdown measures, and ramp up the production of domestically-made medical equipment, including ICU and CCU equipment, masks and test kits.

    After enjoying a brief historic thawing toward the final years of the Obama administration, relations between Tehran and Washington plummeted in 2018, after President Trump announced his nation’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, which promised Iran sanctions relief in exchange for a commitment not to pursue nuclear weapons. In 2019, tensions escalated again amid a series of incidents in the Middle East, including tanker sabotage attacks, ship seizures, and drone shootdowns in and around the Persian Gulf, and a Yemeni militia attack on Saudi oil refineries which Riyadh and Washington have blamed on Tehran. In January 2020, the US assassinated Gen. Soleimani in Baghdad. Tehran retaliated by targeting US bases in Iraq with missiles, leaving at least 110 US personnel with traumatic brain injuries. Tensions began to ramp up again in April after US Navy complained about being “harassed” by small Iranian gunboats near Iran’s territorial waters, with President Trump threatening to blow the Iranian vessels out of the water.

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