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COVID-19 pandemic intensifies Iran sanctions debate

Iran hawks are doubling down on sanctions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and Democrats can’t agree on how much relief the United States should give Iran.
A man wearing a protective face mask, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sits at a bus stop in Qom, Iran March 24, 2020. Picture taken March 24, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC2BWF9JVDZM

The global COVID-19 pandemic has added a new sense of urgency to the political debate over whether — and to what extent — the United States should lift sanctions on Iran as it struggles to adequately contain the coronavirus.

Iranian leaders have largely asserted that the US sanctions regime has hindered its COVID-19 response, noting that it has resulted in significant shortages of medical supplies. The Donald Trump administration released a State Department fact sheet this week dismissing the claims as “Iran’s sanctions relief scam.”

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