Presidential candidate Joe Biden called Thursday for sanctions against Iran to be eased to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has ravaged a healthcare system already devastated by U.S. sanctions before the pandemic arrived. Biden’s opponent Senator Bernie Sanders has long called for an end to sanctions on Iran, and earlier this week Sanders joined 33 other lawmakers in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding he allow for shipments of humanitarian assistance to Iran. At the White House, President Trump was questioned Thursday by Al Jazeera correspondent Kimberly Halkett about the Iran sanctions.
Kimberly Halkett: “Would you consider easing sanctions to allow medical supplies to get in?”
President Donald Trump: “Well, they haven’t even asked us to do that.”
Kimberly Halkett: “But we know that sanctions hit the people, not the government.”
President Donald Trump: “You know what? They haven’t even asked us to do that.”
In fact, Iranian officials have repeatedly demanded the U.S. lift sanctions, with foreign minister Javad Zarif condemning them as a “campaign of economic terrorism.” On Wednesday, President Trump again threatened to attack Iran, claiming in a tweet that he’d learned of Iranian plans for a “sneak attack” on U.S. forces in Iraq.