© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a press conference in New York
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that his country has had the toughest year due to U.S. sanctions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the economic problems that exacerbated after U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal with major powers in 2018 and new sanctions were imposed. On Monday, the Iranian rial dropped to its lowest level ever against the US dollar.
"It was the most difficult year due to the economic pressure from the enemy and the pandemic," Rouhani said in a television speech.
"The economic pressure that started in 2018 has increased … and today it is the hardest pressure on our dear country."
Iran has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and deaths since the restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic were gradually lifted in mid-April. The death toll has recently exceeded 100 a day for the first time in two months.
More than 220,000 cases have been confirmed and over 10,000 deaths.
Rouhani said that wearing masks will be mandatory for two weeks from next Sunday at "meeting points" that are considered "red spots".
Senior officials have regularly warned that restrictions will be reintroduced if health regulations, such as social distance, are used to curb the increase in infections.
Iran launched a campaign on Saturday to motivate a reluctant public to use face masks.
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