European businesses fully support humanitarian assistance to Iran: Eurochambres president

April 6, 2020 - 12:20

President of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Eurochambres) says that the European businesses fully support past and current EU efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Iran and will continue to do so.

In a letter to President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Gholam Hossein Shafei,  Christoph Leitl reaffirmed the necessity of pursuing a global action towards the crisis resulted by the new coronavirus outbreak in the world saying “In my eyes, this global pandemic calls for global coordinated actions and solidarity”.

“Providing humanitarian assistance to Iran, especially in the current crisis, has never been questioned at the EU level,” Eurochambres president said in his letter.

“I’m fully aware of the particularly grave health situation in Iran resulting from the pandemic, and I will of course share your request regarding access to medical equipment and supplies with the European Chamber network,” Leitl said.

Christoph Leitl’s letter came in response to a letter authored by Gholam Hossein Shafei on March 17, 2020 which called on European national and local chambers of commerce to ask their governments to defy Washington’s anti-Iran sanctions amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In his letter, Shafei denounced the U.S. sanctions against Iran as a flagrant violation of the most fundamental humanitarian principles saying that the sanctions have seriously hindered efforts in Iran for procuring medicine and medical equipment required for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called on those chambers of commerce which take their social responsibilities seriously to put pressure on their governments in accordance with their social mission to improve the situation for the Iranian people by mitigating the impact of unlawful U.S. sanctions, especially those related to the importation of medicine and medical equipment.

“I have the strong impression that humanitarian issues are of great importance to you,” Shafei wrote in his letter to Leitl. “However, this positive impression is accompanied by an expectation that you ensure the supply of medicine and medical equipment and devices to Iran through negotiating with European Chambers of Commerce and informing them of the situation.”

In response, Leitl further assured Shafei that the European Chamber network would do its best to continue to support efforts to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in Iran and around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In another letter to Paul Polman, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), president of the ICCIMA asked for arrangements through international business community and members of the organization to contribute to Iran’s efforts to contain the pandemic.

The ICC later issued a call for G20 leaders to agree on coordinated steps to “ensure access to essential medical supplies, scale public health financing to tackle COVID-19 and restore confidence and stability in the global economy”.

The United States has refused to lift sanctions on Iran and even tightened them several times in recent weeks, making it almost impossible for the Islamic Republic to access life-saving medications and medical equipment necessary in the fight against the deadly new coronavirus pandemic.

An Iranian Health Ministry spokesman said on Sunday Iran's death toll from COVID-19 had passed the 3,600 mark among a total of 58,226 infected people. More than 22,000 of those with confirmed infections have recovered so far.


PHOTO: Christoph Leitl (L), president of the Eurochambres , and Gholam Hossein Shafei, president of ICCIMA

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