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Russian Lavrov, Iranian Zarif discuss coronavirus fight, lifting sanctions on medicines

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, in a phone call on Monday, discussed coordinated action to fight the novel coronavirus and the necessity of lifting sanctions that involve supplying medicines, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

"The ministers paid specific attention to the task of multilateral coordinated efforts in battling the coronavirus infection, including a waiver of unlawful individual sanctions and other restrictions linked to the supplies of medicines and essentials," the ministry said.

The ministry pointed out that the diplomats had also exchanged opinions on key issues on the international agenda with an emphasis on the development of the situation in Afghanistan given the role of region’s states. "They also touched upon prospects for giving a boost to the efforts towards the settlement in Yemen in the light of the recent proposals by the United Nations," the Foreign Ministry said.

The conversation was initiated by Zarif. The Iranian authorities have repeatedly stated that Washington’s restrictions against Tehran were impeding its fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to Iran, US sanctions prevent imports of goods of humanitarian nature, including food and medicines.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,800,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 114,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 428,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.


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