Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Syria's Assad and Iran's Zarif condemn West at Damascus meeting

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wore face masks on Monday for their meeting in Damascus, and said the West was exploiting the coronavirus pandemic for political ends.

State media said Mr Al Assad conveyed condolences to Iran, where more than 5,200 people have died from the disease.

Mr Zarif, who was also wearing gloves, said the US administration showed its “inhumane reality” by refusing to lift sanctions on Syria and Iran during the pandemic.

Mr Al Assad said the handling of the crisis showed the West’s moral failure.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has indicated that the US may consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the epidemic but has given no real sign that it plans to do so.

Last month, Mr Pompeo said humanitarian supplies were exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump abandoned Iran’s 2015 deal with world powers to limit its nuclear programme.
The US has also increased sanctions on Syria since the uprising against Mr Al Assad began in March 2001.

The State Department said it was “trying to deprive the regime of the resources it needs to continue violence against civilians”.

Syria says it has 39 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three dead.
Medics and witnesses say there are many more. Officials, who deny any cover-up, have imposed a lockdown and measures including a night-time curfew to stem the pandemic.

Thousands of Iranian militias fighting alongside Mr Al Assad’s forces in Syria and pilgrims from Iran are main sources of the contagion, some medics and humanitarian workers say.