Envoy says economic, banking restrictions on Iran amid pandemic amounts to 'crime against humanity'

April 4, 2020 - 10:30

TEHRAN – Iran's ambassador and permanent representative to the UN office in Geneva has said that the imposition and intensification of U.S. sanctions on Iran amidst the coronavirus pandemic amount to a "crime against humanity".

In a letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday, Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh said the imposition of cruel and illegal sanctions on Iran, which has impeded the ordinary's people access to medicine and medical equipment,  clearly exemplifies crime against humanity.

He added that the sanctions have blocked Iran's banking transactions with other countries to buy commodities required in contain the deadly coronavirus.

The envoy stressed the importance of rolling back international sanctions regimes around the world as insisted by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who had said in a letter to the G-20 economic powers that the sanctions are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global containment endeavor.

“I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and COVID-19 medical support. This is the time for solidarity, not exclusion,” the UN chief wrote.

“Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world,” Guterres added.

 Elsewhere in his letter, Baghaei Hamaneh said the intensification of U.S. economic and banking restrictions on Iran amidst the pandemic runs counter to international regulations, adding that the White House shoulders an international responsibility in this regard.

The United States has refused to lift sanctions on Iran and even tightened them several times in recent weeks. Tehran's access to life-saving medications and medical equipment have been restricted due to illegal sanctions.

Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly on Thursday approved a resolution for the first time on the coronavirus pandemic, calling for “multilateralism” in the fight against the virus, but failed to condemn unilateral U.S. sanctions against countries.

ME/PA

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