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U.S. could rethink Iran sanctions in light of coronavirus - Pompeo

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U.S. could rethink Iran sanctions in light of coronavirus - Pompeo

By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk

 

2020-03-31T181809Z_1_LYNXMPEG2U24S_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-IRAN-USA.JPG

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a news conference at the State Department, in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2020. Andrew Harnik/ Pool via REUTERS

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held out the possibility on Tuesday that the United States may consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the coronavirus epidemic but gave no concrete sign it plans to do so.

 

The comments reflected a shift in tone by the U.S. State Department, which has come under withering criticism for its hard line toward sanctions relief even in the face of a call by the U.N. secretary-general to ease U.S. economic penalties.

 

Pompeo stressed that humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 multilateral deal to limit its nuclear program.

 

However, broader U.S. sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran, one of the nations hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

 

Asked if there might come a point at which Washington might reevaluate its stance on easing sanctions, Pompeo told reporters: "We evaluate all of our policies constantly, so the answer is - would we ever rethink? - Of course."

 

Asked about such relief on March 20, Pompeo simply said U.S. sanctions do not apply to medical and other humanitarian goods.

 

Washington is pursuing a "maximum pressure" policy to try to force Tehran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

 

Iran has accused the United States of "medical terror," prompting Pompeo's spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday to tweet: "Stop lying. ... It's not the sanctions. It's the regime."

 

France, Germany and Britain have exported medical goods to Iran in the first transaction under a trade mechanism set up to barter humanitarian goods and food, Germany said.

 

Jon Alterman, a Middle East analyst at Washington's CSIS think tank, said Pompeo's shift in tone might be a response to the European move.

 

"There is an Iranian effort to peel off Europe ... Holding open the possibility of reconsidering is an effort to keep Europe on side," he added, though he saw little chance of a U.S. policy shift. "In the current environment, the chances are very low, but the environment keeps changing."

 

Pompeo has been sharply criticized for the administration's stance on Iran sanctions. In recent weeks, the United States has repeatedly tightened sanctions on Iran, notably seeking to make it harder for it to export oil.

 

"Pompeo appears to view the epidemic as a handy means to compound 'maximum pressure,'" Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl wrote on Sunday. "To what end?"

 

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Paul Simao and Cynthia Osterman)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-04-01
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The pandemic provides an ideal excuse for both governments to reach a compromise without losing face.... Not going to happen, it seems.

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1 hour ago, kjun12 said:

The unjustified arrogance of Iran's leaders makes it difficult to sympathize with their problems.

The arrogance lies with the corporatocracy that

controls the US and many other countries that

bow to their power.

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1 minute ago, talahtnut said:

The arrogance lies with the corporatocracy that

controls the US and many other countries that

bow to their power.

Ya think corporations are happy about these restrictions? Even more so now that the world is faced with the inevitability of a worldwise recession?

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Very sensible humanitarian gesture by Trump, Iran will need a lot of supplies of many kinds.

 

Good call.

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3 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

Ya think corporations are happy about these restrictions? Even more so now that the world is faced with the inevitability of a worldwise recession?

Yes they want a regime change, a US puppet

installed, so that they control Irans oil.

Same old thing going on in Venezuala now.

 

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surprised that anti-US ol' China hasn't already jumped the gun, and onforwarded some of their mega caches of medical stuff (dragged from plentiful imperialist western countries) and beat their chests as 'saviours' and then they 'sell' the donated items to Iran

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1 minute ago, sirineou said:

I am not in doubt. Neither is anyone who has studied recent history. 

 

I'm sure you're not. The Iran regime with their Death to Israel obsession are but innocent babes.

Anyway. I certainly support humanitarian support towards Iran or any country now, including to the USA. 

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35 minutes ago, talahtnut said:

Yes they want a regime change, a US puppet

installed, so that they control Irans oil.

Same old thing going on in Venezuala now.

 

Ridiculous 

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