Photograph: Wana News Agency/Reuters

At a time when all of humanity is facing a common, invisible, enemy, world leaders have called for a suspension of economic sanctions that have increasingly become the pursuit of war by other means.

The Trump administration has responded so far by ignoring those appeals and intensifying punitive measures on the two nations it has identified as America’s greatest enemies: Iran and Venezuela.

The spread of coronavirus has not slowed the regular drumbeat of successive layers of sanctions imposed by the state department on Iran. Last week, a new list of people and companies linked to the Revolutionary Guard was targeted.

On the same day, the justice department unveiled drug trafficking and money-laundering charges against Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and 14 top current and former