Iran Having 'Most Difficult Year' Because of U.S. Sanctions, Coronavirus, Rohani Says

Iran's currency has hit an all-time low against the dollar, and its virus death toll has now passed 10,000

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A temperature check at a mosque in Qarchak, Iran, June 12, 2020.
A temperature check at a mosque in Qarchak, Iran, June 12, 2020.Credit: WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Sunday that his country is experiencing its toughest year because of U.S. sanctions coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated economic problems that worsened after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from Iran's nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions. On Monday, Iran's rial currency fell to its lowest ever level against the U.S. dollar.

"It's been the most difficult year due to the enemy's economic pressure and the pandemic," Rohani said in a televised speech.

"The economic pressure that began in 2018 has increased ... and today it is the toughest pressure on our dear country."

Iran has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and deaths since restrictions to stem the spread of the pandemic were gradually lifted from mid-April. The death toll has recently topped 100 a day for the first time in two months.

More than 220,000 cases have been confirmed, and over 10,000 deaths.

Rohani said wearing of masks will become mandatory for two weeks starting next Sunday in "gathering places" that are deemed "red spots".

Senior officials have regularly warned that restrictions will be reimposed if health regulations such as social distancing to stem the surge in infections are not observed.

Iran launched a campaign on Saturday to motivate a reluctant public to use face masks.