RNA - Chris Murphy, a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin on Thursday, demanding that the United States ease economic sanctions against Tehran and Caracas as well as other restrictions-hit countries at a time when the deadly virus is taking heavy toll across the world.
“It hurts our nation's security and our moral standing in the world when our sanctions policy results in innocent people dying. I am particularly concerned about the impact of sanctions on the COVID-19 response in Iran and Venezuela,” Murphy said in the letter co-signed by at least 10 other senators.
“As these countries struggle to respond to their domestic health crises, US sanctions are hindering the free flow of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies due to the broad, chilling effect of sanctions on such transactions, even when there are technical exemption,” he added. “Helping these nations save lives during this crisis is the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it is also the right thing to do from a national security perspective.”
In a related move on Wednesday, eight countries also called on the United Nations (UN) chief to ask for the lifting of US's unilateral sanctions on various countries that are hindering the global fight against the new coronavirus.
The diplomatic missions of Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and warned about the negative impact of the sanctions on the international efforts aimed at containing the deadly virus.
They said the sanctions also had a direct impact on “the human rights to life, health and food of the peoples subjected to them.”
The United States has declined to remove sanctions on such countries as Iran and Venezuela amid the coronavirus outbreak and despite global calls on Washington to do so.
The novel coronavirus, a respiratory disuse known as the COVID-19, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year, incrementally infecting some 185 countries across the world.
More than 533,000 people worldwide have so far been infected with the virus and over 24,000 have died, according to a running count by worldometers.info.
More than 32,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iran, of whom more than 11,000 have recovered and nearly 2,400 have died, according to figures released by the Iranian Health Ministry on Friday.