News ID: 266971
Published: 0753 GMT March 18, 2020

US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran despite int’l outcry, coronavirus outbreak

US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran despite int’l outcry, coronavirus outbreak
AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference at the State Department in Washington D.C., on March 17, 2020.

The US has announced a new round of sanctions against Iran despite international pressures on Washington to lift the embargoes in the wake of the new coronavirus spread in the country.

The new sanctions are part of US so-called "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic, Press TV reported.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Washington had blacklisted three Iranian entities for engaging in what he called “significant transactions” to trade in Iranian petrochemicals.

While he did not name any firms or individuals, Pompeo said the measure included blacklisting Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for investing in the sanctioned entities.

In a separate statement, the US Commerce Department also said it would boycott a number of entities, including five Iranian nuclear scientists, for aiding Tehran’s nuclear program.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran. The sanctions have hindered, among many other things, the delivery of international humanitarian aid, drugs and medical equipment to Iran, particularly, now that the country is fighting against the coronavirus.  

On Monday, Russia, China and Pakistan separately pressed the US to remove its unilateral sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak, as the country is wrestling with lack of medical equipment and medicine it needs to import to battle the deadly disease, also known as COVID-19.

Greece has also joined the campaign as an official of the European state’s Foreign Ministry has announced that the Greek government believes in the necessity of keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive and lifting Washington’s sanctions on Tehran at a time when Iran is struggling with the coronavirus-caused human plight.

The remark was made by Greek Foreign Ministry’s Director General for International Organizations Affairs Andreas Papadakis in a meeting held in Greece with Iranian Ambassador to Athens Ahmad Naderi.

Papadakis appreciated Iran's measures to combat the virus, saying efforts by Iranian physicians are praiseworthy.

He said that the coronavirus spread is a global problem which needs international cooperation to be able to eliminate the threats posed by the pandemic to the entire humanity.

The Iranian ambassador said all countries should condemn US unjust anti-Iran sanctions.

Naderi added US unilateral sanctions have obstructed the access of the Iranian government and people to medical equipment needed for fighting the deadly pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the US is taking deliberate actions that hamper Iran’s measures to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying, "The reason behind the numerous fatalities is not only the infection itself, but also the fact that the US is deliberately hindering efforts to counter it. Millions of Iranian citizens have been deprived of the opportunity to purchase vital medical items, no matter how Washington is trying to distort this fact. We deeply regret, we are alarmed and seriously concerned by the anti-humane US policies," tass.com wrote.

In a similar move, on the same day, China also urged the US to lift sanctions on Iran immediately amid the Middle Eastern country's response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to economictimes.indiatimes.com.

"Continued sanction on Iran was against humanitarianism and hampers Iran's epidemic response & delivery of humanitarian aid by the UN and other organizations," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet.

Likewise, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, called for the lifting of sanctions on Iran to enable the country to combat the coronavirus.

In a call for action from the international community, he said it was time to end US sanctions on Iran, where one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world has unfolded.

The Pakistani prime minister further added that Iran is a “classic example” of a place where the humanitarian imperative to contain the outbreak outweighs political rivalries or economic dogmas. 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) – known as the World Court – has ordered the US to lift the sanctions it has illegally reimposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.

The coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province late last year and is currently affecting more than 160 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far infected over 190,000 people and killed more than 7,400 others, according to worldometers.info.

In Iran, the total number of infections has reached 16,169. Also, the fatality count increased on Tuesday to 988, with 135 news deaths, according to the latest figures provided by the Health Ministry. A total of 5,389 patients have fully recovered.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

 

   
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Resource: Press TV
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