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US sanctions on Iran are causing coronavirus to spread

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The coronavirus outbreak in Iran has turned into a national crisis. Officials have confirmed 9,000 cases of infection and 354 deaths by Covid-19, although health experts and hospital sources say the government has not been fully transparent about data and real numbers are much higher. And despite having one of the region’s best health systems, the country’s resources are exhausted and the crisis seems to be beyond their capacity.

But in addition to the government’s domestic shortcomings, the political fight between Tehran and Washington has had a strong impact on this outbreak. Iran’s unusually close ties with China, as a lifeline to circumvent US sanctions, led to the initial spread of the virus in the country. Harsh economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have contributed to a shortage of test kits and medical supplies in Iran, and US sanctions even resulted in Google removing Iran’s coronavirus diagnosis app from its online store.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Dr Minoo Mohraz, a prominent specialist in infectious diseases in Iran, has said Iran was initially behind on detecting coronavirus cases due to a lack of diagnosis test kits. She said European companies would not sell the kits to Iran in fear of US sanctions — eventually, the World........

© Independent