By Mohammad Ali Haqshenas

Analyst says intl. community should ignore illegal U.S. sanctions amid COVID-19 outbreak

March 17, 2020 - 12:52

TEHRAN – An American analyst believes that the world community is obligated to help Iran with containing the COVID-19 outbreak and that includes ignoring sanctions.

It is near one month that Iran is battling with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak across the country. The virus has so far infected more than 13,900 individuals, claiming 724 lives as of Sunday. 

Iran started the fight against the virus as soon as the first cases were confirmed but the country's lack of access to its resources caused by unilateral US sanctions has hampered the nationwide efforts which ultimately harms public health.

To shed light on the issue, we reached out to American analyst and columnist Stephen Lendman with the following questions:

Now it’s more than one year that the Trump administration has started the so-called ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran which has influenced the Iranian economy. Its effects can now be seen as the country is facing problems to acquire its needed funds to battle the coronavirus outbreak. Are these sanctions legal in the first place?

Under international law, including the UN Charter, no nations may impose sanctions on others for any reason.

Taking this action is the sole prerogative of Security Council members. Nations imposing sanctions unilaterally or in combination with others against other countries are in flagrant violation of international law.

Now the international community has started to feel the sanction’s real effects on Iranian people as they are endangering the public health. What is the responsibility of the world towards Iran and also towards US unilateralism?

Above all, the world community of nations is required to uphold international and their own national laws and never violate them unilaterally or in cahoots with other countries.

Given the COVID-19 health emergency in Iran, exacerbated by US sanctions, preventing unrestricted imports of foods and medicine, the world community is especially obligated to help. That includes ignoring US sanctions.

Both President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif have recently penned letters to their counterparts and international bodies, urging them to disregard US sanctions at this time of crisis. What do you think the response of the world leaders would be to these requests?

I imagine most world leaders President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif wrote will respond politely while doing little or nothing.

At the same time, I believe close US ally Japan offered Iran some help, maybe more coming. Russia and China I believe are helping.

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