Germany says that together with France and the United Kingdom, it has begun sending medical products to Iran to help it fight the coronavirus outbreak. Iran is the Middle East’s hardest-hit country, with close to 45,000 confirmed cases and 2,898 deaths as of Tuesday, and Tehran says that US sanctions are hindering its anti-pandemic efforts. According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the German Foreign Ministry, the three European countries are utilizing a bartering mechanism established – but previously unused – to bypass the sanctions for the transfer of food and humanitarian goods. Berlin, Paris and London had put the system, called Instex, on hold when Iran began backing away from the terms of a 2015 multilateral accord aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons. The US imposed the sanctions after backing out of the accord in 2018, calling it insufficient. Germany, France and the UK, along with Russia and China, remain signatories.
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