Iran urges US to free Iranian prisoners amid coronavirus

Elias Hubbard
March 28, 2020

Earlier in the day, Washington added five organizations as well as 15 people to is sanctions lists, including organizations allegedly tied to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

An Iranian scientist Dr. Sirous Asgari who was exonerated in a United States sanctions trial but remains jailed by immigration authorities said the conditions in detention were filthy and overcrowded and officials were doing little to prevent a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

USA officials say they plan to keep sanctioning Iran to try to force it to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities despite the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 2,234 people in Iran.

"Some of these people help provide the financial support that enables the IRGC-QF to transfer lethal aid to Iranian-backed terrorist groups such as Kata'ib Hizballah (KH) and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), and engage in other malign activities that undermine the Iraqi government's efforts toward energy independence", State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

"US has taken several Iranian scientists hostage - without charge or on spurious sanctions charges - & not releasing them; even when its OWN courts reject the absurd charges", Zarif said.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States of holding a number of Iranians in its prisons and said that under the circumstances they should be set free. "Moral imperative to stop observing the bully's sanctions", he tweeted.

Humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after US President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 global agreement curbing Iran's nuclear programme.

The new sanctions against Iran are in defiance of the increasing pressure the U.S. faces to ease pressure as Tehran is struggling to cope with the pandemic.

Separately, Washington renewed a sanctions waiver letting Iraq import electricity from Iran but vowed to blacklist anyone who used it to help terrorist groups.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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