US Imposes New Iran Sanctions, Complicating Coronavirus

Pompeo accuses Iran of being 'an accomplice' to the virus

Last week, Iranian officials emphasized that US sanctions are making their reaction to the coronavirus outbreak much more difficult, leading to both Iran and China to urge the US to put those sanctions on hold for humanitarian reason.

Not going after Iran for humanitarian reasons, needless to say, isn’t a policy that the administration considers, and the US announced more sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, saying they are part of the ongoing ‘maximum pressure campaign.’

But it wouldn’t be the Trump Administration if they didn’t rub it in. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed this up by declaring “The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice,” arguing that Iran is being incompetent in reacting to the pandemic.

Iran isn’t being successful in controlling the outbreak, of course, but US sanctions are preventing them from buying a lot of medicine or equipment to treat the sick. The US military had some officials openly presenting this as part of the US strategy, believing that sick and dying Iranians would slow their ability to make decisions that threaten the US.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.