'Trump more dangerous than coronavirus': Iran’s security chief 

April 7, 2020 - 13:26

TEHRAN - A top Iranian security official has called U.S. President Donald Trump "more dangerous than coronavirus",  saying moves to block vital medical supplies to fight coronavirus from reaching Iran was tantamount to crimes against humanity.

"Trump is more dangerous than coronavirus," said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).
The Trump administration has opposed efforts by the International Monetary Fund to assist Iran during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The sanction on health items is an illegal and inhumane act and a symbol of Trump's open hostility to the Iranian people," Shamkhani wrote in a tweet on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the U.S. economic terrorism against Iran is expanding to “medical terrorism”. 
As of Tuesday, 3,872 people have died of COVID-19 in Iran, while the number of confirmed cases in the country reached 62,589.
Since 2018, the Trump administration has imposed a policy of "maximum pressure" sanctions against Tehran after Washington withdrew unilaterally from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Under the deal - reached between Iran, the U.S., the European Union, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany in 2015 - Tehran promised to curtail its nuclear ambitions in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.
Over the last month, as the virus spread rapidly in Iran, the U.S. repeatedly tightened sanctions designed to choke off Tehran's crucial oil exports, Al Jazeera reported.
A group of 24 senior diplomats and defence officials, including four former NATO secretary generals, have urged Donald Trump to save “potentially hundreds of thousands of lives” lost to coronavirus across the Middle East by easing medical and humanitarian sanctions on Iran, The Guardian reported on Monday.
The call has the backing of the former EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, the former director general of the World Health Organization Gro Harlem Brundtland, and senior American diplomats in the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations.
The bipartisan group is not pressing for a generalised lifting of the sanctions but instead a targeted effort to ease U.S. rules that prevent Tehran trading in medical and humanitarian goods. The group says the move “could potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iranians and, by helping to curb the virus’s rapid spread across borders, the lives of its neighbors, Europeans, Americans and others”.
Iranians are facing “one of their country’s darkest times in living memory” the group says. “Reaching across borders to save lives is imperative for our own security and must override political differences among governments,” it adds.
Signatories include the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former U.S. defense secretaries William Cohen and Chuck Hagel, former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Hans Blix, former U.S. treasury secretary Paul O’Neill, the former U.S. lead diplomat on the Iran deal, William Burns, and the former NATO secretary general George Robertson.
In a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron late on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said countries should exert pressure on the United States to lift its "cruel and one-sided" sanctions against Tehran.
"The U.S. administration has not only violated international regulations by imposing illegal sanctions on Iran, but is also breaching health regulations ratified by the World Health Organization in 2005 through its measures under the current circumstances," Rouhani stated.
Foreign Minister Zarif warned in mid-March that U.S. sanctions is not only putting Iranians' life in danger but also will pave the ground for a faster spread of COVID-19 to other countries.
“It is IMMORAL to let a bully kill innocents. Viruses recognize no politics or geography. Nor should we," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account, implying that no government should keep mum on such brutal sanctions on Iran. 

PA/PA

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