Advisor slams U.S. for blocking shipment of coronavirus equipment

March 8, 2020 - 18:4

TEHRAN — Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a senior foreign policy advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker, has denounced the United States for not allowing shipment of coronavirus medical equipment to Iran, saying the U.S. is targeting ordinary Iranians.

“The USA has not allowed shipment of #COVID19 medicines/medical equipment to #Iran,” Amir Abdollahian said in a tweet on Saturday.

“The American officials are apparently lying; no suspension has yet been ordered on the #sanctions impacting ordinary people,” he said. “America is targeting Iranian nation.”

On February 27, the United States announced that it has granted a license to allow for certain humanitarian trade transactions, including food, medicine and other critical supplies, with Iran's sanctioned central bank, a move it said was in step with the formalization of the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA).

“The SHTA will further facilitate the flow of humanitarian goods to the Iranian people,” the statement said.

“The SHTA is the first operational channel established under the framework announced by the U.S. Department of State and the Treasury in October 2019 to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran. Initial transactions were successfully conducted in late January 2020 to demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of the SHTA.”

According to the U.S. Treasury, while the United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for the conduct of humanitarian trade with Iran, the SHTA presents a voluntary option for facilitating payment for exports of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran in a manner that ensures the upmost transparency.

“Companies within Swiss jurisdiction may reach out to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) at SHTA@seco.admin.ch for further details on requirements and instructions for participating in the SHTA. This includes entities that are owned or controlled by U.S. and third-country persons and domiciled in Switzerland. Parties may continue to avail themselves of existing exceptions and authorizations to conduct humanitarian trade with Iran outside of the humanitarian channel.”

However, Tehran later denounced Washington’s false expression of readiness to assist Iran in the fight against coronavirus outbreak as a “ridiculous” and “hypocritical” move and part of a political and psychological game.

Last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi responded to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim about helping Iran in the battle with the infectious disease, which has been hugely publicized in the media and has been widely advertised before informing Iran.

“The claim of helping Iran in the fight against coronavirus, made by a country that has exerted massive pressures on the Iranian people with its economic terrorism and has even blocked the (Iranian) purchase of medicine and medical equipment, is a ridiculous claim and a political-psychological game,” Mousavi said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in close contact with many countries in order to satisfy the country’s pharmaceutical and health demands and to combat the coronavirus, and so far a considerable part of the country’s critical needs, including 100,000 (COVID-19) diagnostic kits, surgery masks, medical ventilators, etc. have been supplied from the friendly countries, and other consignments are also on the way which will be publicized in due time,” he noted.

On March 5, China called for the immediate lifting of the sanctions against Iran given the severe outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, saying the unilateral move hinders Iran and the international community in the fight against the virus and will only make the situation worse.

MH/PA

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