China says sanctions on virus-hit Iran goes against humanitarian spirit

March 16, 2020 - 20:59

TEHRAN – Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has urged removal of sanctions on Iran as the country is fighting the coronavirus.

Geng made remarks at a press briefing when asked to comment on a letter sent by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to leaders of several countries, in which he accused the U.S. government of continuing to thwart Iran's efforts to counter the pandemic, with sanctions having caused about 200 billion U.S. dollars of direct damages to the Iranian economy in less than two years, Xinhua reported.

Saying the Iranian government and people are at a critical moment to fight against the novel coronavirus disease, Geng stressed continued unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran have deteriorated the situation and gone against the humanitarian spirit.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman says the sanctions could seriously affect Iran's fight against the pandemic coronavirus.The sanctions could seriously affect Iran's fight against the pandemic and humanitarian assistance provided by the United Nations and other international organizations, Geng added.

Paying close attention to the situation in Iran and maintaining communication with the Middle Eastern country, China has sent anti-epidemic materials including test kits, as well as a team of voluntary experts to Iran, Geng said.

The spokesperson added that China will continue to provide assistance within its capabilities and in accordance with Iran's needs, and hopes the international community will strengthen cooperation with Iran and jointly safeguard global and regional public health security.

Iran is currently battling the world’s deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East.

Iran’s Health Ministry confirmed on Monday that 14,991 people have been infected and 853 have died.

Iran has denounced the United States for impeding effective fight against the coronavirus through its sanctions, especially medical sanctions.

In a reference to Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said, “It is immoral to let a bully kill innocents.”

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, has said that the United States’ sanctions impede Iran’s efforts in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

“Returned to New York from Tehran last night. People and government of Iran working hard to defeat Covid-19, but the U.S. sanctions impeding their efforts,” he tweeted on Friday.

He added, “High time for the U.S. to de-politicize this humanitarian endeavor and lift sanctions. International crises necessitate genuine international efforts.”

Zarif has sent a letter to United Nations chief Antonio Guterres urging the largest international body to disregard Washington’s sanctions on Tehran amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Zarif broke out the content of the letter to Guterres in a Tweet on Friday night, writing, “I urge the world body—and member states—to disregard inhuman U.S. sanctions on my country. And insist that they be lifted.”

“As the #COVID19 ravages Iran, we should recognize that viruses don't discriminate. To fight them, neither should humans,” he added, posting the following the two-page letter as attached photos.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has urged the international community to help lift the “inhuman” sanctions against Tehran by the United States as Iran is in the midst of the campaign to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

In separate letters to president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, secretary-general of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly and also parliament speakers of the Asian and Islamic countries, Larijani has expressed regret over the United States’ “inhuman” sanctions against Iran which is creating impediments in the battle against the coronavirus’s spread.

He urged the international community to adopt “principled” stance for immediate removal of sanctions against Iran, especially ban on medicine medical supplies.

Mehdi Sanaei, a top advisor to Zarif, has said from human rights perspective removal of “unilateral” and “illegitimate” sanctions on Iran is essential as country is the battling the deadly coronavirus.

“In a situation in which the coronavirus has become pandemic in the world, the human rights necessitates removal of unilateral and illegitimate sanctions against Iran,” he tweeted on Saturday.

Sanaei, Iran’s former ambassador to Moscow, added that other countries have responsibility towards the Iranians and must not follow the U.S. sanctions.


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