Serbia voices solidarity with Iran in fight against coronavirus

March 15, 2020 - 2:8

TEHRAN — Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, in a phone call on Friday night with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, has voiced Belgrade’s solidarity with the Iranian nation and government in their fight with coronavirus.

The two foreign ministers discussed the latest efforts to combat the novel coronavirus, according to the Foreign Ministry website.

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory disease that emerged in China last December and has spread around the world, halting industries, bringing travel to a standstill, closing schools, and forcing the cancellation of public events.

Iran is currently battling the world’s second-deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus outside China. 

As of Saturday, 12,729 Iranians were confirmed to have been infected with the virus. Of this number, 611 have lost their lives.

The coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold in two weeks. He said he was “deeply concerned” by “alarming levels of inaction.”

Observers say the U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran are an act of war as they hamper Tehran’s efforts to counter the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the United States’ sanctions as a major obstacle to Iran’s battle against the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

In his letter, Zarif urged an end to such an “illegal” sanctions.

In part of his letter, Zarif said, “Although our medical facilities, doctors, nurses and other health practitioners are among the very finest in the world, we are stymied in our efforts to identify and treat our patients; in combatting the spread of the virus; and, ultimately, in defeating it, by the campaign of economic terrorism perpetrated by the Government of the United States.” 

Also on Thursday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commanded Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri to establish a medical base to fight the coronavirus as there is an increased likelihood that the virus be a “biological attack”.

“While commending the services that the Armed Forces have so far provided to the dear people [of Iran], and while emphasizing the need for those services to further expand and continue, it is necessary that these services be organized in the form of a health and treatment base,” the Leader wrote in his edict.

MH/PA

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