Iran’s official death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 21 on Saturday, with a lawmaker among the latest fatalities, while the government accused Washington of hampering Tehran’s response to the virus, AFP reported.
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said that the 21 deaths took the country’s total death toll to 145, while 1,076 additional cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,823.
“More than 16,000 people are currently hospitalised as suspect cases,” Jahanpour said during a televised news conference.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later said American sanctions — reimposed from 2018, after Washington pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal — were undermining Iran’s battle against coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump “is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with the aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID-19 — while our citizens are dying from it,” Zarif tweeted on Saturday.
“The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism,” he said.
Jahanpour said Saturday that 1,669 people who were sick with the COVID-19 illness have recovered.
The Islamic republic is battling one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks of the disease outside China.