Iran envoy to Belgium on Saturday asked the European Union to oppose US sanctions on Iran amid the surge of COVID-19 pandemic, according to the media report.

Gholam Hossein Dehqani said in a letter to Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said, “The “unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran under the guise of its maximum pressure campaign undermine the country’s ability to effectively battle the virus without any international support in the long run”.

Dehqani urged the European Union to defy “the inhumane” US sanctions as they infringe on the ordinary citizens’ rights to meet their basic needs.

On Friday, Baqaei Hamaneh said in a letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, “The sanctions have blocked Iran’s banking interaction with other countries in the purchase of commodities required in the fight against the coronavirus”.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani censured the US for maintaining its sanctions against Iran despite the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country.

Last week, the US has renewed sanctions waivers on Iran that allowed foreign companies to continue work at Iranian nuclear facilities to keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons

Iran is among the countries that have been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the US has shown little willingness to ease its notorious “maximum pressure” against Tehran.

Iran’s health ministry on Saturday announced 55,743 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and a total of 3,452 deaths.

In February, President Hassan Rouhani had said that his country was open to talks with the European Union (EU) on possible ways to save the 2015 landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers.

The nuclear deal between Tehran and a group of world powers has been crumbling since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018, and Washington has since stepped up sanctions and a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran.

On January 22, the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi criticised three European countries — Britain, France and Germany — for their recent triggering of the dispute mechanism in the Iran nuclear deal.

Last year, Britain, France and Germany warned Iran against any further breaches of the international nuclear deal signed in 2015.