Iran to US: Viruses recognize no politics, geography, drop your sanctions

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif censured the US for refusing to lift its sanctions against Iran as the country reports big jump in deaths due to coronavirus outbreak.

16 March 2020
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Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif censured the US for refusing to lift its sanctions against Iran as the country reports big jump in deaths due to coronavirus outbreak.

Medics treat patients infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on March 14, 2020. Photo: Tasnim

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif censured the US for refusing to lift its sanctions against Iran as the country reports big jump in deaths due to coronavirus outbreak.

Iran has announced more than 100 people had died in the past 24 hours, with the confirmed cases nearing 14,000.

“Viruses recognize no politics or geography. Nor should we,” Zarif wrote while mentioning a recent letter sent by President Hassan Rouhani to a number of world leaders, calling for joint and coordinated regional and international measures against the novel coronavirus.

“In letter to counterparts @HassanRouhani informs how efforts to fight #COVID19 pandemic in Iran have been severely hampered by US sanctions, urging them to cease observing them: It is IMMORAL to let a bully kill innocents.,” Zarif tweeted.

"This virus knows no boundary and claims victims without political, religious, ethnic, and racial considerations," Rouhani said in his letter on Friday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also written a letter to the United Nations secretary general, urging lifting of the unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on the country, which have greatly hampered the Islamic Republic’s fight against the new coronavirus epidemic.

Despite the high scientific standing of the Iranian health apparatus and its commitment to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the complications created by the US sanctions “have faced Iran’s fight with the COVID-19 outbreak with serious impediments,” Zarif said in his letter.

Meanwhile, President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) urged International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the international business community to help Iran in its fight against the new coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to Paul Polman, chairman of the ICC, Gholam Hossein Shafei asked for arrangements through international business community and members of the organization to contribute to Iran’s efforts to contain the pandemic adding that "the inhumane US unilateral sanction against the Iranian people" has made it difficult for the government to provide necessary medical equipments.

Iran has received 7.5 tonnes of medical equipment including 1,000 lab kits for diagnose of the virus cases from the World Health Organization (WHO) and another batch of 4.5 tonnes of supplies including high-filtered masks, gowns and surgical goggles for health-care personnel from The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The country, however, needs more as it is unable to buy equipment overseas due to US sanctions.

US authorities have claimed that their sanctions on Iran, enacted since November 2018 and months after Washington pulled out of a nuclear agreement with Iran, have not affected the trade of humanitarian goods.

However, international organizations and governments have asked the US to lift its bans and allow Iran to access the medicine and medical gear it needs to fight the new coronavirus.

Tehran further sued Washington at the International Court of Justice afterwards. The tribunal ruled that the US should lift its sanctions on humanitarian supplies.

 

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