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Rouhani: Iran fighting two viruses of US sanctions, corona

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country is currently facing and battling two viruses, namely the anti-Iran sanctions and COVID-19.

“This year, we are facing two viruses: The sanctions and corona,” Rouhani said on Thursday, speaking at a video conference to inaugurate four major projects in the Iranian capital of Tehran, Tasnim News Agency reported.

He added that the government will do all it can to relieve the Iranian people’s suffering and help them live a relatively better life amid the difficulties facing the nation and the world.

In similar remarks on Monday, the Iranian president said US imperialism is a virus, which is “more dangerous” than the new coronavirus for the international community.

“Independent and freedom-seeking nations like Iran and Venezuela have always been under pressure as a result of the US statesmen’s excessive demands and bullying,” Rouhani said in a phone call with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint ‎Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between and the P5+1 in ‎July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s sanctions on Tehran. Mainly ‎targeting Iranian oil and banking sectors, the sanctions have even ‎hampered delivery of humanitarian aid to the country and the Islamic ‎Republic’s purchase of drugs and medical equipment amid its fight against ‎the virus. ‎

Speaking on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said that over $476.19 million have been invested in the plans, comprising four major wastewater treatment and electricity generation projects.

He noted that the inauguration of the plans is in continuation of a national initiative launched by the Energy Ministry in late September 2019 to implement 227 projects in 31 provinces with $7.85 billion in investments.

The minister added the projects included a steam power plant unit and three wastewater treatment facilities.

He said as part of the national initiative, the Energy Ministry’s mechanisms will also be reassessed in the current Iranian calendar year (which started on March 20) in addition to the implementation of projects.

“The reassessment of the mechanisms will involve efforts to guarantee maximum use of available financial and human resources as well as opportunities.”

Ardakanian put the amount of rainfall in the country at 270 millimeters since September 23, 2019, noting that although the figure indicates a 30 percent decline year-on-year, it is 60 millimeters higher than the long-term average.

He said the favorable precipitation in this period will allow us to allocate 30 percent more water to the domestic agricultural sector and has helped increase the water level of 50 wetlands across the country.

Infections, death toll

On Thursday, the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said coronavirus has infected 77,995 in Iran, taking the lives of 4,869 people.

Within the past 24 hours, he added, 1,606 new cases were identified and 92 patients lost their lives to the virus.

Jahanpour put at 52,229 the number of recovered individuals in the country, regretting that 3,594 patients are critical conditions.

He added that 310,340 people have so far been tested for coronavirus symptoms.