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31 Mar, 2020 07:41

US renews sanctions on Iran's nuclear program, threatens economic pressure despite calls to lift restrictions amid pandemic

US renews sanctions on Iran's nuclear program, threatens economic pressure despite calls to lift restrictions amid pandemic

The US has renewed sanctions curtailing Iran's nuclear program for another 60 days, as Iran issued pleas for the US to ease its pressure campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid humanitarian and economic crisis.

"We will continue to use the full range of our diplomatic and economic tools to constrain Iran's destabilizing proliferation activities," the US State Department said in a statement.

The US re-imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran after Washington unilaterally left the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program in 2018. The move was blasted by the EU, Russia and China, who were also signatories of the agreement.

US President Donald Trump claimed that the Islamic Republic was secretly violating the JCPOA. However, the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), confirmed at the time that Iran was complying with the deal.

Also on rt.com US sanctions on life-saving drugs are leading Iran into a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ as pandemic rages – Zarif

After the US ramped up the sanctions aiming to torpedo Iran's oil trade, Tehran started scaling down its commitments under the JCPOA. Iranian officials pledged to return to the agreement if the EU provides the nation with sanctions relief.

Iran, which insists that the US sanctions are illegal under international law, has been warning that Washington's 'maximum pressure' campaign undermines its ability to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and hurts regular Iranians. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the sanctions are leading to a "humanitarian catastrophe" as they hamper Iranians' access to life-saving drugs.

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