Two dozen former diplomats and national security leaders from the United States and Europe called on the Trump administration Monday to ease sanctions against Iran as part of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement, signed by some of the most storied diplomats in recent U.S. history, said that providing some sanctions relief to Iran could help stem the spread of the disease and potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Iran is one of the world’s coronavirus epicenters, with almost 60,000 confirmed cases and at least 3,600 deaths, though some researchers believe the death toll is far higher.
“Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of the global economy and of human lives and health, it has drastically changed the impact of a U.S. policy designed for a different purpose and conditions,” the statement said. “Just because Iran has managed the crisis badly, that does not make its humanitarian needs and our security ones any the less. Targeted sanctions relief would be both morally right and serve the health and security interests of the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world.”
The signatories represented decades of diplomatic and national security expertise. Among them is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, two former defense secretaries and a U.S. and a European official who negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2018 before reimposing old sanctions and adding new ones. The European signatories include former prime ministers, foreign ministers, ambassadors and secretary generals of NATO.
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