1032 GMT April 05, 2020
Pakistan calls on the US government to immediately lift sanctions on the Islamic Republic as Iran facing a difficult situation due to the new coronavirus spread in the country, said the Pakistani foreign minister.
In a statement on Friday, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said since people are dying in Iran due to the spread of the deadly virus, the sanctions on the country should be lifted, IRNA reported.
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.
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.
He added his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has already stated that US sanctions are hampering Iran’s efforts to fight coronavirus.
Qureshi said coronavirus is a global epidemic and even a large number of the world’s developed countries are struggling to fight this problem.
Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
He appealed to the local public to restrict their movements and avoid gatherings.
“Unfortunately our people are not taking it seriously but if we do not follow the safety guidelines, we will endanger everyone,” he said.
The minister added today, more than 173 countries are affected by the outbreak.
According to official estimates, there are 451 cases of coronavirus in Pakistan by Friday while three coronavirus patients have passed away.
Earlier, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview with The Associated Press, also 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.
In similar moves, Russia, China and Greece also separately pressed the US to remove its unilateral sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A few days ago, an official of the European state’s Foreign Ministry 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.
Greek Foreign Ministry’s Director General for International Organizations Affairs Andreas Papadakis made the remark in a meeting 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 coronavirus outbreak has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Speaking at the same meeting, 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.
Likewise, in a statement, 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.
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.
Earlier, in a letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres Zarif called for the removal of all the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on the Islamic Republic to help the country fight coronavirus.