In a report published on Monday, the HRW said the sanctions “are negatively affecting the Iranian government’s ability to adequately respond to the mounting health consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic".
Washington “should take immediate action to ease US sanctions and expand licensing of sanctions-exempt data-x-items to ensure Iran’s access to essential humanitarian resources during the pandemic,” the New York-based rights group added, according to its official website.
Washington’s sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank “seriously threatened the flow of exempted humanitarian trade to Iran,” it said.
Although the US claims that it has exempted humanitarian supplies from the sanctions, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has cut the number of its so-called “general licenses” for Iran-headed exports from more than 50 percent to 10 percent, HRW said.
It also refuses to expand the licenses so they could include more items, it added.
“This means that equipment crucial to fighting the virus, including ventilators, CT scanners, decontamination equipment, and full-mask respirators, require a special license,” the body wrote.
The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 3,739, including 136 people who had lost their lives over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpoor said on Monday.
The total number of people infected by coranavirus in the country has reached 60,500, he said. So far, 24,236 patients have recovered and left the hospital, he added.