Zarif: Coronavirus, like terrorism, knows no bounds

February 25, 2020 - 18:58

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said like other viruses, including terrorism, coronavirus knows no borders, calling for more regional cooperation to combat it.

“Like other viruses - incl terrorism - #COVID19 knows no borders and doesn't distinguish between ethnicities or faiths,” Zarif said on Tuesday in a tweet.

“To combat it, neither should we,” he said, adding, “In line with #HOPE, Iran calls for more regional cooperation incl long overdue Joint Center for Disease Control & Prevention.”

Iran is one of the countries inflicted with the novel coronavirus, scientifically known as COVID-19.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki has said effective measures have been taken and comprehensive plans are underway to get rid of the novel coronavirus in the country.

Iran has put in place a set of contingency plans, including the temporary shutdown of schools, universities and cultural centers, to curb the coronavirus outbreak that by Tuesday afternoon had claimed at least fifteen lives in the country.

“With regard to the past experience, I say that we will defeat the coronavirus before long,” the minister said on Sunday.

“As a veteran soldier in the Iranian health front, I have taken the responsibility of removing measles, tetanus, and polio which astonished the World Health Organization as the country is grappling with sanctions with no international support. So, I [definitely] say that we will defeat the coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Iranian Judiciary's High Council for Human Rights has said countries imposing sanctions on supply of medicine to Iran are “murderers of human beings” and lack qualification to be members of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

Ali Baqeri made the remarks while addressing the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, where he described the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran as the “most recent grave and systematic violation of human rights.”

Emphasizing that “the Iranian nation is the major victim of such a violation,” Baqeri said, “The United States has created an international sanction regime which amounts to a systematic violation of human rights at an international level.”

“This new policy in practice has prevented access to medicine and basic needs by those who are in need,” the rights official said, adding, “Those who impose sanctions on medicine are not only violators of human rights but also murderers of human beings. And those who impose sanctions on life-saving medicine are not eligible to be a member of the Human Rights Council.”

Refuting U.S. claims that its anti-Iran sanctions do not cover supply of medicine, the official said, “Although the U.S. claims that basic needs such as pharmaceutical and commodities are not sanctioned, access to the most basic human needs are blocked due to the sanctions imposed on international financial transactions and banking.”

MH/PA

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