U.S. sanctions threaten Iranians’ lives: university professor

April 26, 2020 - 19:0

TEHRAN - Robin Ramcharan, lecturer at the Webster University of Thailand and Executive Director of the Bangkok-based Asia Centre, has said that continuation of the United States sanctions against Iran when the country is fighting the coronavirus threatens the Iranian people’s lives.

“The international community is duty bound to suspend or totally lift sanctions in crises such as this pandemic,” Ramcharan told ILNA in an interview published on Sunday.

Pointing to the U.S. action in impeding the International Monetary Fund to give Iran a loan, the executive director of the Bangkok-based Asia Centre said Washington’s move is contrary to humanitarian spirit.

Donald Trump’s administration is not only refusing to remove its illegal sanctions on Iran, it is also blocking Tehran’s efforts to get an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, on Wednesday criticized the U.S. for blocking an Iranian request for a loan from the IMF, Politico reported on April 22

"I regret that ... the United States are opposing the International Monetary Fund to take this decision," he said during a virtual press conference at the end of a video meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers. "From the humanitarian point of view, this decision, this request should have been accepted."

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter at the beginning of March that IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva "has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our central bank requested access to this facility immediately." 

And Iranian central banker Abdolnaser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page a message in Farsi which said “in a letter addressed to the head of IMF, I have requested five billion U.S. dollars from the RFI emergency fund to help our fight against the coronavirus.”

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein in a letter has urged Trump not to block Iran’s access to a $5 billion loan from the IMF to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

“I am disappointed to see reports that your administration intends to block Iran from receiving $5 billion in humanitarian aid from the IMF to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Feinstein wrote in her letter to Trump. 

“Providing these funds to Iran would help it respond more effectively to the disease and mitigate the risk of further destabilization in the region,” she added.

Iran has called U.S. sanctions “economic and medical terrorism”.

In late March, Foreign Minister Zarif said U.S. medical terrorism against Iran “even exceeds what would be permissible on the battlefield”. 

The Trump administration has slapped the harshest ever sanctions in history against Iran. It has introduced a total ban on Iran’s oil export with the aim of strangulating the Iranian economy. 

These illegal moves are taking place while Iran is being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, killing more than 5,700 people and infecting over 90,000.

NA/PA

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