1135 GMT April 03, 2020
The Iranian foreign minister called on Japan to expand its efforts to remove US unilateral and illegal sanctions against Iran.
In a phone conversation with his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed the latest regional and international developments and appreciated contributions by the government and people of Japan to the fight against the new coronavirus spread in 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.
In Iran, the total number of infections has reached 19,644. Also, the fatality count increased on Friday to 1,433, with 149 news deaths, according to the latest figures provided by the Health Ministry. A total of 6,745 patients have fully recovered.
Commenting on reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) about the professional performance of the Iranian healthcare system, he stressed that US sanctions are the main obstacle to the sustainable fulfillment of needs for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment in Iran.
In the same conversation, the Japanese foreign minister described donations by his country to Iran as an indication of friendly ties between the two countries and solidarity between their peoples.
He added that Japan will also donate some anti-COVID-19 drugs to Iran.
The two ministers also agreed that, given the high standard of Iran’s health system, the country shares its scientific reports on the effectiveness of the using the drugs with Japanese experts in an effort to help advance medical science.
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 mainly targeted Iran’s oil exports in a bid, as claimed by Washington, to reduce the country’s overseas sales to “zero” and damage the domestic economy. They have also impeded the delivery of humanitarian aid, drugs and medical equipment to Iran amid the coronavirus spread.
In a tweet on Thursday, Zarif once again chastised the US for pursuing its outdated and failed policy toward Iran, advising American politicians to change their “bankrupt policy”, Press TV reported.
He made the remarks while commemorating the last day of the Iranian solar year (March 19), which marks the nationalization of oil industry in Iran.
On March 20, 1951, members of the Iranian Parliament voted unanimously in favor of a bill introduced by the country’s then democratically-elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, to nationalize Iran’s oil industry.
The initiative put an end to Britain’s four-decade monopoly over Iran’s oil industry. Before the bill was passed, the British oil giant, known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), enjoyed monopolistic control over the industry and used to pay only a small share of the revenues to the Iranian government.
In retaliation for Mosaddeq’s revolutionary move, Britain and the US imposed sanctions against Iran’s oil sector and later colluded to stage a coup against the ex-premier’s government in 1953 in a bid to reinstate the Western-back monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in power after the bans failed to bear result.
“69 yrs ago today, Iran's democratically-elected PM nationalized our oil industry to end plunder of our wealth. US response: embargo + regime change,” Zarif said in his tweet.
He then compared the policy to the one that the US has been following toward Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, rebuking Washington for pursuing the same threadbare and futile policy, which has already been proved to be of no value in making Iran give in to excessive US demands.
“From 1979, embargo + regime change again became staple of US policy on Iran - even amid #covid19,” Iran's foreign minister added in reference to the new coronavirus pandemic, advising US politicians to change that “bankrupt policy.”