Pakistan calls for lifting of sanctions on Iran

Tehran requested Islamabad to help lift US sanctions to combat coronavirus


KARACHI: Pakistan on Friday urged the international community, including the U.S., to lift longstanding economic sanctions on Iran to enable it to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Twitter post, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called for the lifting of the sanctions on human grounds so that it can “use its resources to save precious human lives.”

“The entire global community is facing an unprecedented pandemic. We must, as leaders, at a time of great challenge and difficulty, show utmost sanctions must be lifted against Iran, in this moment of perils, so that it can use its resources to save precious human lives,” he said.

His statement followed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan requesting him to play a role to help lift the grinding sanctions that, according to Tehran, has badly hampered its fight against coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Aisha Farooqui, spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry, confirmed that Islamabad had received the letter and was assessing that.

Among the worst-hit countries by the new coronavirus, Iran’s death toll has risen to 1,433, the state television reported Friday.

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Reisi told the television that another 149 people died of the virus over the last 24 hours.

With 1,237 new cases in a day, the total number of confirmed cases hit 19,644, he added.

A total of 6,745 people have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the virus, the official added.

The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 163 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide now surpasses 247,400, while the death toll exceeds 10,000 and over 86,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Writing by Riyaz Khaliq