This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Iran to respect its nuclear obligations as the world focuses its attention on the coronavirus pandemic.
In a phone call on April 6, Macron told Iranian President Hassan Rohani that the international community must come together to fight the spread of the virus.
Macron hopes Iran will “turn to the respect of its nuclear obligations, refrain from taking new measures contrary to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and contribute to the easing of regional tensions,” a government statement said.
Rohani’s office said during the call the Iranian president called for an internationally coordinated fight against the new coronavirus and asked for support.
“Without joint global cooperation and exchange of our experiences, we cannot master this critical phase,” Rohani said.
Iran is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. The outbreak has officially infected more than 62,000 people and killed over 3,800 in the country, though many experts and critics of Tehran have said the actual figures may be much higher due to underreporting by officials.
Earlier on April 6, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the United States to ease economic sanctions on Iran and expand the licensing of sanctions-exempt items to ensure the country has access to essential humanitarian resources during the pandemic.
Iran and several countries along with the United Nations and some U.S. lawmakers have voiced similar pleas to ease sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump has offered Iran humanitarian assistance, but Iranian officials have rejected the offer.
Iran doesn’t “need charity” from Trump, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on April 7.
“What we want is for him to STOP preventing Iran from selling oil & other products, buying its needs & making & receiving payments,” Zarif wrote.
France and its EU partners remain available to continue humanitarian cooperation to help Iran fight the coronavirus, Macron said, according to the French government statement.