United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has once again called for the US to suspend sanctions against Islamic Republic of Iran.
Her appeal comes as the country’s crippled health-care system struggles to deal with the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
“We need to suspend these sanctions before more lives are lost,” Omar said via Twitter on Friday, retweeting an earlier post made by well known Iranian-American activist Hoda Katebi.
According to Iranian authorities, there have been more than 11,000 cases of the coronavirus – offically known as Covid-19 – and at least 514 deaths, making the Islamic Republic one of the countries worst hit by the virus.
Katebi said her aunt, who is a doctor in Iran, had reported “massive” shortages of medical supplies, including face masks, as the country struggles to deal with the spread of the disease.
The situation in Iran is expected to worsen as Friday saw the biggest single-day jump in cases since the virus was detected there.
The outbreak has prompted authorities to temporarily release about 70,000 prisoners to contain the spread of the illness, which has now reached all of Iran’s cities.
Congresswoman Omar had been calling for an end to sanctions against Iran before the start of the outbreak.
“This makes no sense. Sanctions are economic warfare,” Omar tweeted in January. “They have already caused medical shortages and countless deaths in Iran.
“You cannot claim to want deescalation and then announce new sanctions with no clear goal. This is not a measured response!”
President Donald Trump began reinstating sanctions against Tehran in May 2018 when he pulled the US out of a multilateral nuclear deal implemented during the Obama administration two years previously.