NEW DELHI :
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the impact of American sanctions crippling it’s capability to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The letter received by Modi is one that Rouhani has sent to a host of world leaders in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that has killed more than 600 people in the Gulf country.
It comes as a third batch of Indians evacuated from Iran landed in India on Sunday.
“It's time for international community to stand up against US inhumane sanctions. Fighting #CoronavirusPandemic requires the concerted global action," said a tweet from Rouhani which was reposted by the Iranian embassy in New Delhi.
In a Twitter post, Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, "In letter to counterparts @HassanRouhani informs how evfforts to fight #COVID19 pandemic in Iran have been severely hampered by US sanctions, urging them to cease observing them: It is IMMORAL to let a bully kill innocents."
Iran is the worst-affected country in the Middle East due to the COVID-19 outbreak and said on Thursday it had asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
"Viruses recognize no politics or geography. Nor should we," Zarif added.
Iran's economy was already battered by US sanctions that curb oil and gas exports crucial for government revenues. A slowdown in economic activity caused by the virus outbreak and a sustained closure of its borders are expected to lead to a contraction this year, analysts have said.
US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on vital Iranian sectors including oil after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran's nuclear deal with six world powers.
Rouhani’s letter to Modi comes after Iran had criticised riots in New Delhi that had killed 53 people. India had summoned Iran’s envoy to New Delhi Ali Chegeni to protest comments by Iranian foriegn minister Javad Zarif earlier this month.
Meanwhile, 234 Indians stranded in Iran were brought back to India on Sunday. This is the third batch of Indians to be evacuated from Iran.
“234 stranded in #Iran have arrived in India; including 131 students and 103 pilgrims. Thank you Ambassador @dhamugaddam and @India_in_Iran team for your efforts. Thank Iranian authorities," Indian foriegn minister S Jaishankar said in a Twitter post.
Jaishankar also added that another group of 218 Indians stranded in the Italian city of Milan due to the coronavirus outbreak had also been brought back to India.