The regime has found out that this could be an opportunity for it to get rid of the sanctions under the guise of humanitarian aid.
This scenario has started with the requests of Iran parliament speaker Ali Larijani, in separate letters addressing the Chief of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC, PUOICM) and demanding, “principal positions for the immediate lifting of all sanctions” against the regime. (Khabar Online, 10 March)
Following Larijani, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif came to the scene and made a similar request. In his letter on 12 March to the United Nations Secretary-General and the presidents of international organizations and foreign ministers of several countries which was concurrent with the regime’s request of $5 billion aid from the IMF, he called them, that “The US government must urgently… and immediately lift all sanctions it has illegally imposed on my country …”
The next regime official was the president Hassan Rouhani. He wrote in a letter on 13 March to some of the world countries heads and said, “Confronting Coronavirus requires coordinated regional and international actions / No country can handle this huge and dangerous crisis alone / US sanctions against Iran and complying with them by other countries are not only illegal and contrary to the Security Council resolution, but it is immoral and inhuman.” (President.ir, 14 March)
Of course, these requests show that the concerns by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei are not about the people, but he is thinking about the regime’s survival, to strengthen his sovereignty and not to lose the support of proxy groups in the Middle East, which is equal to the end of the regime.
But in recent years, the international community has shown that it is no longer willing to play on the regime’s ground, and now it’s the regime’s turn.
Now the regime is trying to play its game once again by the pretext of the coronavirus and use it as a weapon against the sanctions. As Khamenei said: “If we have these achievements, disaster becomes a blessing to us, and threat turns into an opportunity.”
The process of converting the “disaster” into a “blessing” with the “sanctions lifting” scenario, is while the United States has repeatedly stated that the export of humanitarian items, including medical supplies to Iran, is not included in the sanctions.
Michael R. Pompeo, US Secretary of State, stated, “In addition, the United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations to its sanctions for the commercial export of food, medicine, medical devices, and agricultural products to Iran. In support of those exceptions and authorizations, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Government of Switzerland recently announced the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA).”
And US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet:
Notwithstanding travel restrictions, the United States will continue to work with our allies to allow humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people, including for the Coronavirus outbreak, through the use of the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement.
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) February 29, 2020
Apart from all the regime’s claims and scrambles, this shows that the Iranian regime is in an extreme situation, now and even before the coronavirus outbreak. What now is making a difference is that the regime is trying to abuse the situation created by the outbreak for its survival and it doesn’t care about the people like the images from the streets of Iran shows: