‘Iran can contain COVID-19 by relying on domestic knowledge and capacity’

Iran can defeat COVID-19 without relying on West: Sayyari

April 13, 2020 - 11:52

TEHRAN — Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says Iran can defeat the COVID-19 outbreak by relying on its domestic capabilities and past experiences.

“Regarding confronting coronavirus and other issues, we have no choice but to stand on our own feet … we should not wait for the lifting of sanctions,” Sayyari, the Army deputy commander for coordination affairs, told the Mehr news agency on Monday.

He went on laud the country’s production of required materials and equipment for the anti-coronavirus fight such as face masks, disinfectants, ventilators, test kits, and hospital beds in the shortest time possible.

“Nobody helps you without making you feel obligated, so we need to use our past experiences, rely on domestic knowledge and capacity, and believe that we can do it. Be sure that we can defeat the coronavirus.”

The global outbreak of the virus proved that each country is busy solving its own problems, he said, adding, “America, with all its claims of being an advanced country, is pirating masks of other countries and its people are fighting in supermarkets over toilet paper … This shows that the civilization they claim to have is just fake.”

“Did the same happen in Iran after the outbreak given the existence of all the sanctions, economic pressures, and hostilities towards the nation? Absolutely not,” he added.

Iranian people are following humanity and sacrificing their lives despite going through hard days, he said, noting that this shows “the Iranian nation’s cultural identity.”

Iran is under illegal sanctions imposed by the United States after the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018. 

Despite calls from the international community to lift the unilateral sanctions amid the outbreak, Washington has refused to do so and has even reportedly blocked Iran’s request for a $5 billion emergency fund from the IMF. Foreign Minister Zarif described the U.S. efforts as “medical terrorism”.

Meanwhile, Iran, which is one of the hardest-hit by the virus with over 73,000 infections as of Monday, has mobilized domestic capacities to fight the outbreak by producing the required equipment.

In a letter to the G-20 economic powers on March 24, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for rolling back international sanctions regimes around the world. 

He said sanctions are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Foreign Policy reported.

“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,” he said.

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

Also, on Saturday, the Vatican expressed sympathy with the Iranian people and talked to the U.S. over its draconian sanctions on Tehran.

The Vatican's secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin talked to U.S. officials following a letter by head of Iran’s Islamic Seminaries Alireza Arafi to leader of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis.

MH/PA

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