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Rouhani Slams US for Failing to Lift Sanctions after Hint by Pompeo

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday blasted the United States for wasting the “best opportunity” to lift “unjust and unfair” economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic due to its controversial nuclear program. “Americans could have used this chance to tell the Iranian nation that they are not against it,” Rouhani reportedly said, adding: “Their hostility is obvious.” His comments came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left open the possibility of easing the sanctions: “We evaluate all of our policies constantly, so… would we ever rethink [this one]? Of course.” Rouhani nevertheless insisted that the financial penalties had not hampered his government’s ability to confront the health crisis. Washington previously offered humanitarian assistance, but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nixed the idea. Iran has reported over 44,000 cases of COVID-19 and 3,000 deaths. In response, several countries, including China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have sent medical supplies. On Tuesday, Britain, France and Germany – which, in addition to Russia and China, are the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal from which the US withdrew two years ago – followed suit. They for the first time used a financial mechanism previously set up to allow for continued non-dollar trade with Iran or the bartering of goods.