Iranians voice support for medical teams amid coronavirus battle
Iranians show national solidarity with healthcare teams amid nation-wide battle against coronavirus outbreak which has challenged the county for more than a month.
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Iranians are turning to social media to show their support for healthcare workers and doctors fighting the spread of the virus to assure them that they are not alone.
Medical workers worldwide have been under pressure dealing with patients, but in Iran doctors and nurses are working under more hazardous conditions as sanctions have hampered the country’s access to medical equipment and supplies.
In a message issued to the American people on Friday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said "brutal" US sanctions unilaterally imposed on the Iranian nation were robbing a great number of Iranians of their health, jobs and sources of income.
"At a time that the Iranian people are harmed by both the deadly coronavirus and the most brutal form of US economic terrorism in history, the US government is not willing to abandon its malicious policy of maximum pressure; and is thus in practice aiding the spread of this virus with its sanctions," he said.
Around two dozen medical staff have reportedly died so far in Iran as many hospitals in the country are grappling with a lack of protective gear.
On March 10, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei agreed to a proposal to consider as “martyrs” medical personnel who have lost their lives in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi on Saturday put the total number of infected individuals across the country at 20,610.
“With 123 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus has reached 1,556. Unfortunately, we had 966 new cases since yesterday,” he said on state TV.
Raeisi also said that 7,635 patients had recovered from the infection.
He said the outbreak was showing signs of slowing down in almost all provinces, including the hardest-hit ones, Tehran and Mazandaran.
On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on Washington to remove its unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
“We called on the United States to abandon the inhumane practice of applying unilateral sanctions against Iran, which in the current situation of the spread of coronavirus has an acute shortage of funds to solve urgent problems in the healthcare sector,” Ryabkov said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned that the American sanctions are “literally” taking lives in Iran in the midst of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, calling on world states to join “a growing global campaign” to defy the “unlawful” restrictive measures.
In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Zarif said Washington’s sanctions have “drained the country’s economic resources” and are impairing its ability to fight the outbreak.
“They [sanctions] literally kill innocents. It is immoral to observe them: doing so has never saved anyone from future US wrath,” Zarif added.
President Donald Trump reinstated US sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) — known as the World Court — has ordered the US to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.
The US claims it does not get in the way of food and medicine exports to Iran, but the Islamic Republic says Washington has been creating problems for a Swiss humanitarian channel launched to enable the transfer of commodities to Iran.
The virus first emerged in China’s Hubei province in late December and later reached other countries across all continents, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the disease as a pandemic.