Zarif accuses Trump of “electoral exploitation” amid pandemic, says Iran “starts no wars”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif slammed President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic today, saying he was using the crisis for political gain.

“We have not witnessed throughout history such heinous employment of a humanitarian catastrophe for revenge and to spread hatred and electoral exploitation as the current American president and his team do,” Zarif said in a quote from state news agency IRNA.
“In order for the world efforts to yield fruit and in order for the world to return to (normal) life, we have to believe that all the planet Earth is a battlefield and in wherever part of the world we are defeated, the entire world will be defeated.”

Zarif also said on Thursday on his official Twitter account that “Iran starts no wars, but teaches lessons to those who do,” adding that Iran has “friends” rather than “proxies.”

Echoing Zarif’s comments, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that the US sanctions are contributing to the spread of the virus and urged Americans to join the global fight.

“Trump’s economic sanctions equal further spread of the virus in Iran which equals further spread of the virus in the US! Help us help you,” said Hesameddin Ashena, head of the Center for Strategic Studies of the President’s Office, as quoted by IRNA.
“Dear Americans: If we don’t fight the coronavirus globally it will reappear globally, again and again and again.”

Iran has recorded 47,593 coronavirus cases and 3,036 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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