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Trump ‘willing’ to offer aid to Iran having blocked $5bn coronavirus IMF loan

April 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm

US President Donald Trump holds a press conference in Washington DC, US on 26 February 2020 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

US President Donald Trump said yesterday he would be willing to provide aid to Iran to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic if Tehran requested it.

“If Iran needed aid on this, I would be willing,” Trump said at a White House briefing.

The Islamic Republic however is likely to view Trump’s offer of aid as insincere, having previously requested the White House to lift its sanctions on Tehran to allow it to face the outbreak of the pandemic.

Leaders across the world urged the Trump administration to ease its policy of “maximum pressure” on the Islamic Republic, which critics have argued has cost Iranian lives. With over 5,000 deaths and 82,211 confirmed cases, Iran has been the worst hit of all the countries in the region.

Earlier in the month France, Germany and Britain exported medical goods to Iran via a trade mechanism that was set up to bypass US sanctions.

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Despite the rising death toll, the US sought to dial up pressure by blocking Iran’s $5 billion IMF coronavirus loan. Tehran reacted by accusing Washington of committing “crimes against humanity.”

The Iranians have accused the Americans of making “contradictory and arbitrary statements.” Two weeks ago they urged world leaders not to trust the US while announcing that “it will not be asking America to send any medical and treatment assistance.”

With aid also coming from China, which has seen relations with the US souring dramatically over recent years, Iran is highly unlikely to be moved by Trump’s offer.

The current collapse in relations between Tehran and Washington is largely the result of President Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and immediately issuing sanctions against the nation. Iran has refused to negotiate with the US until sanctions are lifted.

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