March 14, 2020
DUBAI (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s fight against the coronavirus was being “severely hampered” by U.S. sanctions, as state television reported that the death toll from the illness rose on Saturday to 611, up nearly 100 from a day earlier.
State media said Rouhani wrote to a number of world leaders, without naming them.
“In (a) letter to counterparts @HassanRouhani informs how efforts to fight #COVID19 pandemic in Iran have been severely hampered by US sanctions, urging them to cease observing them,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter.
“It is IMMORAL to let a bully kill innocents,” Zarif said.
Iran, the worst-affected country in the Middle East, said on Thursday it had asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
The escalating outbreak has damaged Iranian businesses and is bound to hit its non-oil exports after many neighbouring countries and trade partners shut their borders.
A Health Ministry official, cited by TV on Saturday, put the total number of infections in the country at 12,729.