Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi urged that sanctions imposed on Iran must be lifted so that the country can fight the deadly pandemic that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the Islamic Republic.

“The entire global community is fighting an unprecedented pandemic. We must, as leaders at time of such great challenge and difficulty, show utmost compassion,” FM said in a tweet. “Sanctions must be lifted against Iran, in this moment of peril so that it can use its resources to save precious human lives.”

Iran’s Health Ministry has estimated that the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is claiming a life every 10 minutes in the country, state media reported. Around 50 Iranians are contracting the virus every hour, Health Ministry Spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour was quoted as saying by Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Reisi was quoted as saying that 147 people died over a 24-hour period, while 1,192 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 17,361. So far, 10 doctors and four nurses have died of COVID-19 in Iran.

The foreign minister stressed that this is a dire situation and reiterated that world leaders must adhere to United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres instructions about uniting humanity with an ‘urgent and coordinated global response’.