A Norwegian international organization has called for a halt to economic sanctions against Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, stressing that sanctions should be lifted to help people affected by the crisis.

Iran Press/Europe: Major powers must suspend economic sanctions against countries including Syria, Iran, and Venezuela during the coronavirus pandemic which threatens to worsen hunger and suffering for the poor, an international refugee charity said on Tuesday.

Jan Egeland, a former UN aid chief who now heads the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said that despite sanctions exemptions for medical and food supplies, aid groups still face hurdles to help vulnerable people during the health crisis, Reuters reported.

"My main message is that the abject poverty and hunger tsunami that comes in the wake of the pandemic is in many poor places going to be worse I think, I fear, than the virus may be," Egeland told a virtual news briefing in Geneva.

"Sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Syria and elsewhere undeniably making it more difficult for us to work, to serve ordinary people in this age of the coronavirus."

US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018, with the sanctions against Iran resuming. The move has been slammed by the international community.

COVID-19 was first detected in China's Wuhan in late December and has since spread across the world. In late January, the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency in light of the epidemic.

The global death toll nears 217,985 with more than 3,138,396 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which declared the outbreak a'“pandemic'.


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