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EU to provide millions in coronavirus aid to Iran despite US sanctions

Iran has been hit hard by the coronavirus [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 March, 2020

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Sanctions-hit Iran is struggling to cope with a major coronavirus epidemic.
The European Union will provide 20 million euros in aid to sanctions-hit Iran, which is struggling to cope with a major coronavirus epidemic which has swept through the country.

Iran has been hit hard by the outbreak of coronavirus with more than 23,000 cases in the country and 1,812 deaths that have piled pressure on its already resource-depleted health services.

Tehran has appealed to the international community to ignore US sanctions on the country, which it claims is creating a humanitarian in Iran, and send aid.

On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the body would come to Iran's help and also support Tehran's request for IMF assistance.

"We've not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help but there is some 20 million euros in the pipeline ... that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks," Borrell said, according to Reuters.

"We also agree in supporting the request by Iran and also by Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund to have financial support," he said in a video conference with other EU foreign ministers.

On Monday, Norway said the United Nations would soon establish a fund to assist countries strugging with the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative, which has been welcomed favourably by UN deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed, is expected to be set up quickly, "possibly even this week", Norway's Development Aid Minister Dag-Inge Ulstein said, without specifying the amount of its own contribution.

"We are concerned about the way the virus will affect developing countries which have fragile healthcare systems," the official said.

"International solidarity across borders is more important than ever. That's why it is important for us to contribute financially to such a fund in the UN," he added.

The crisis in Iran has hit the government hard, with a number of ministers, MPs and generals infected by the disease, sometimes with fatal consequences.

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