AGENCIES, Washington: United States Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Thursday called on the administration of President Donald Trump to ease economic sanctions on Iran as a humanitarian gesture during the global coronavirus pandemic.
The former vice president said the US has a moral obligation to be among the first to offer aid to people in need regardless of where they live when confronting a virus that knows no borders or political affiliations.
“While the Iranian government has failed to respond effectively to this crisis, including lying and concealing the truth from its own people, and it continues to act provocatively in the region, the Iranian people are hurting desperately,” Biden said.
“Whatever our profound differences with the Iranian government, we should support the Iranian people.” Biden’s statement comes just days after 34 members of the US Congress – most from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party – signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for easing the sanctions. Among the signatories was Biden’s fellow Democratic presidential contender, Senator Bernie Sanders.
“With neighbouring countries ravaged by war, medical systems either in disarray and underfunded, and the constant migration of pilgrims and immigrant workers, the virus’s further spread in the Middle East poses serious risk both to human health and life and to regional economic and political stability,” the letter stated.
Trump ramped up his attacks on Iran on Wednesday by claiming that it or its proxies were planning a sneak attack on US targets in neighbouring Iraq. He tweeted that Tehran would pay a “very heavy price” for any such action, but offered no details.