Iran says Washington’s unilateral and illegal sanctions against Tehran are impeding efforts in the country to better fight the coronavirus spread, calling on the international community to pressure the US into removing them immediately.
According to IRNA, this was announced by the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations (UN) in a statement released on Thursday.
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.
The full text of the statement follows:
The rapid and indiscriminate spread of COVID-19 across many nations has proved that not only is our global village smaller and more interdependent than what was thought but also our vulnerability to certain challenges is much higher than what was assumed.
This means that, in practice, all nations of the world are in the same boat and, in situations like Coronavirus global pandemic, no nation can stand idly by and remain unaffected and immune. Yesterday it could’ve seemed fictional but today it is an undeniable fact.
Under the current situation, the fate of our peoples, rich and poor, developed and developing, is dependent on one another more than ever, as in the absence of strong international cooperation, no nation alone can address challenges that do not recognize national borders. In this critical and extraordinary moment, it is time for cooperation and solidarity, not the aggravation of inhumane measures against other nations for ill-intentioned political purposes.
One clear example is the spread of COVID-19 in Iran, among the worst impacted so far. Although our medical facilities, doctors and nurses are among the very finest in the world, and also the professional nature of our national efforts to address this challenge is highly acknowledged by the World Health Organization(WHO), we are stymied in our efforts to identify and treat our patients and effectively prevent the spread of the virus, due mostly to the US economic and medical terrorism and sanctions.
The inhuman and unlawful sanctions of the US, by hampering our abilities in preventing further spread of Coronavirus including to other nations, are harming the very health and lives of Iranians and other nations as well.
In other words, while the US is trying to curb the virus internally, it is helping the spread of virus externally by undermining the professional capabilities of certain affected countries who try to combat its pandemic.
Unfortunately, this situation is the result of continued American unlawful sanctions against Iran and some other nations. The current impacts of the US illegitimate sanctions – which surely go far beyond a collective punishment of one nation – leave no doubt that they are tantamount to crimes against humanity.
Now, the US sanctions are not only damaging the trade and economic interests of the nations but also the very life of their citizens.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has done its best and will continue to do whatever in its power to prevent further spread of this highly contagious virus.
However, while Iran is neither economically poor nor professionally weak, the US sanctions make it virtually impossible for Iranians to import needed medicine and medical equipment thus seriously undermining our relevant national efforts to fight the disease.
It must also be stressed that the so-called special mechanism to allow Iran to import medicine neither matches our needs in the current situation nor is viable as it faces other impediments related to the US sanctions such as making it extremely difficult for Iran to use its financial resources abroad.
Under the current situation and given the nature of this pandemic disease, the international community must call on the United States to immediately lift all the sanctions it has illegally imposed on Iran so as to enable Iran to better contain the virus. The time to do that is now.
In addition, in separate remarks, Iran’s spokesman at the country’s mission to the UN, Alireza Miryousefi, said, “New sanctions amidst the coronavirus pandemic – with Iran one of the hardest hit – is beyond cruel, and illustrates the US administration’s complete lack of humaneness.”