Syria, Iran slam US for upholding sanctions despite virus
April 20 2020 06:45 PM
President Bashar Al-Assad (R) meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while both wear
President Bashar Al-Assad (R) meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while both wearing protective face masks, in the Syrian capital Damascus. AFP/Syrian Arab News Agency


Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday slammed the United States for maintaining sanctions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On his first official meeting with Zarif in a year, Assad expressed condolences to Iran, the regional epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with 5,209 deaths from Covid-19.
A photo released by Assad's office showed him and Zarif sitting opposite each other, both in face masks. Zarif also wore light blue plastic gloves.
The Islamic republic says it has recorded 83,505 coronavirus infections, while Syria has declared 39 cases, including three deaths.
Assad criticised the United States for keeping economic sanctions in place on countries like Syria and Iran "despite these exceptional humanitarian conditions", the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
"The coronavirus crisis has exposed the failure of western regimes... and their lack of morals," it added.
Zarif said that "the US real agenda in not lifting its cruel sanctions on countries fighting this disease has now become clear", a statement from Tehran said.
Earlier on Monday, Zarif met with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem, the foreign ministry in Damascus said.
They stressed "the importance of continued coordination and the exchange of information and expertise between... the two countries to enhance their ability to confront" the pandemic and "secure the necessary needs and requirements for prevention, diagnosis and treatment".

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