ANKARA: Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has urged the United States to lift the sanctions on its oil exports as the country is facing difficulties in supporting its citizens in the midst of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
"What we want is for him (President Donald Trump) to STOP preventing Iran from selling oil and other products, buying its needs and making and receiving payments," Zarif said on Twitter.
"We don't need charity from Donald Trump," he added.
He said that ventilators manufactured by a Russian company, under US sanctions, were delivered last week from Moscow to New York to help deal with the pandemic, Anadolu Agency reported.
Tensions have escalated between the US and Iran since May 2018, after Trump withdrew from nuclear pact which world power struck with Tehran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions.
Trump, since then, has embarked on a campaign to scuttle the Iranian economy, including re-imposition of sanctions on Iranian crude oil that were lifted as part of the agreement.
Iran is the most badly hit-coronavirus country in the Middle East, with at least 3,872 deaths and 62,589 positive cases.
Iran has also been vocal about lifting US sanctions at a time when countries are combating the spread of the virus.
The US's failure to ease sanctions against virus-hit countries has even sparked a debate in the international arena.
On March 24, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for the easing of sanctions against several countries including Iran, to allow health care systems to fight the disease and limit the global spread of COVID-19.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 1.4 million cases have been reported worldwide with the death toll more than 81,100 and nearly 300,000 recoveries.