Foreign Policy
Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:30
Iran Calls for Global Campaign to Ignore US Sanctions Amidst Coronavirus Epidemic
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked the world states to join an international campaign of defying the US sanctions against Iran which have endangered lives of innocent people at the height of the nation's campaign against the global coronavirus epidemic.

“Unlawful US sanctions drained Iran's economic resources, impairing ability to fight COVID-19. They literally kill innocents,” Zarif wrote on his twitter page on Tuesday.

He reminded the world states that observing the death of innocent people is “immoral”, saying that no country has ever been saved from the future US wrath by doing so.

“Join the growing global campaign to disregard US sanctions on Iran,” Zarif underlined.

Last week, Zarif in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the US sanctions on legal trade and hampering sales of medicine and medical equipment have created serious obstacles for Iran's fight against coronavirus.

In his letter to Guterres, Zarif called for an end to the sanctions imposed by the US government, which he slammed as a major obstacle to Iran’s battle with the coronavirus outbreak.

"Excellency, I am writing to you concerning a matter of the greatest urgency. As you—and my counterparts across the world—are painfully aware, we are now officially amid a pandemic. Most of us have been affected by the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 viral disease, with my country among the worst impacted so far," Zarif wrote in his letter.

He went on to say that while the virus ravages "our cities and towns, our population—unlike thoseof other countries affected—suffer under the most severe and indiscriminate campaign of economic terrorism in history, imposed illegally and extra-territorially by the Government of the United States since it reneged on its commitments under Security Council Resolution 2231in May 2018".

"Although our medical facilities, doctors, nurses and other health practitioners are among the very finest in the world, we are stymied in our efforts to identify and treat our patients; in combatting the spread of the virus; and, ultimately, in defeating it, by the campaign of economic terrorism perpetrated by the Government of the United States," Zarif added.

The Iranian foreign minister said that beyond targeting "our lawful trade with others, the illegal US sanctions regime has impacted every sector of our economy, all while our people are told by the US Secretary of State that their government must submit to outrageous outside diktat “if they want to eat”.

"Now, the same shameless U.S. official has gone as far as publicly holding medicine for Iranians to ransom, conditioning such trade on extraneous and extra-judicial demands," he added.

Zarif further said that the Government of the United States’ general collective punishment of the Iranian people—including by depriving them from humanitarian trade, in contravention of repeated sloganeering to the contrary—is clear.

"What has hitherto, and unfortunately, been less clear to the international community is how US economic terrorism is specifically–and directly—undermining our efforts to fight the Covid-19 epidemic in Iran, including as follows: Illegal US secondary sanctions have made it increasingly difficult for Iran to export its oil as well as manufactured items, thereby targeting not only the public sector—which must provide subsidized food, medicine and other necessities for the Iranian people, and particularly the most vulnerable segments of the population—but our entire private sector which provides goods, services and employment for the Iranian people."

The Iranian health ministry announced on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus patients in the country has increased to 16,169, while the death toll rose to 988 people. A sum of 5,389 coronavirus patients have also recovered so far. 

Last Wednesday, the Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended for the next two weeks.

The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s north, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.

Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.

He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.

Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.

He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.

Namaki said that the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 22, and will increase to 40 soon.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.

The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.

The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.

 

 

 

 

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