US Mulls Loosening Sanctions on Iran due to Pandemic

Andrew Harnik/ Pool via Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on March 31 that the US is considering the possibility of loosening sanctions on Iran and other countries in order to help the struggle against the spread of the coronavirus. Reuters said that this represents a shift in foreign policy after Pompeo had been criticized for intensifying sanctions.

Pompeo emphasized that humanitarian supplies do not fall under sanctions. In response to a question from reporters, he said "We evaluate all of our policies constantly, so the answer is - would we ever rethink? - Of course." Earlier this month he said sanctions do not apply to medical and other humanitarian goods.

France, Germany and Britain have recently supplied medical products to Iran, and commentators believe Pompeo may be giving greater consideration to the stances of European countries and the UN secretary general who has also called for an easing of the sanctions because of the pandemic. Several weeks before the outbreak began, Washington tightened its sanctions on Tehran to prevent Iranian oil exports.   

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