Western states oppose stronger Iran-Russia relations: envoy

April 21, 2020 - 19:9

TEHRAN — Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali has criticized Western countries for creating obstacles in the path of stronger relations between Iran and Russia.

“Many Western countries do not want the relations between Iran and Russia to expand. Many of them do nasty things and publish fake news, which we’ve witnessed in the last couple of months,” Jalali said in an interview with IRNA published on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, the Russians have looked at Iran through the West’s lens and we, too, have looked at the Russians through the West’s lens,” he said.

He added that there’s no correct understanding of Russia among Iranians following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and now that President Vladimir Putin is in power.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Jalali also said Iran and Russia have had close cooperation since the outbreak of the coronavirus in order to contain the deadly virus.

“The Russians voiced readiness to counter coronavirus through protocols and medical advice, and also a number of Russian pharmaceutical companies expressed their readiness to sell medicine to Iran, and the message was conveyed to Tehran,” he said.

“Overall, it can be said that good collaborations took place,” he said, adding, “Also, the foreign ministers and parliament speakers have talked with each other over this issue.”

The coronavirus, also called COVID-19, initially emerged in China late last year and soon spread across the world.

“Unfortunately, the Russians have looked at Iran through the West’s lens and we, too, have looked at the Russians through the West’s lens,” Ambassador Jalali says.

In Iran, the outbreak has so far infected 84,802 people of whom 5,297 have lost their lives. Some 60,965 people have also recovered.

Jalali said the Russians have been very active with regard to the issue of the U.S.-imposed sanctions, which Tehran has termed as a very important factor hampering its efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of the European Union have urged suspension of sanctions against countries, including Iran, in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 31, a UN human rights expert called for lifting international sanctions against countries ranging from Iran to North Korea and Venezuela in coronavirus crisis, according to Reuters.

“The continued imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and, to a lesser degree, Zimbabwe, to name the most prominent instances, severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food,” Hilal Elver, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement.

Chris Murphy, the U.S. senator from Connecticut, warned earlier this month that the Trump administration could be partially responsible for “the death of innocent people” if it continues its current policies towards Iran amidst the coronavirus epidemic.

“If this epidemic continues to grow and spread in Iran it will…result in the death of innocent people, partially as a result of U.S. policy that does not accrue to the national security benefit of our country,” he told reporters on the Monday conference call, The National Interest reported.

MH/PA

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