Tehran slams ‘irresponsible’ U.S. regime for WHO exit

May 31, 2020 - 18:50

TEHRAN — Tehran has censured the “irresponsible” U.S. regime for ending its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the middle of the worldwide fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“In the new chapter of its Withdrawal series, & amid a pandemic that has rattled the world, the US terminates its relationship w/@WHO,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

“After failing its ppl, this irresponsible regime has been seeking a scapegoat to hide its debacle. But blame games didn’t & won’t fool the world,” he added.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump accused the WHO of becoming essentially a “puppet” organization of China and announced his decision to end relationship with the UN health body over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs,” Trump said.

On May 19, Trump sent a four-page letter to the WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning he would permanently cut U.S. funding of the WHO and reconsider U.S. membership if the organization did “not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days”.

He announced U.S. withdrawal on Friday, only 10 days after the letter, according to The Guardian.

After that ultimatum was announced, a few U.S. health officials urged the WHO to signal its willingness to change to the Trump administration in the hope it would change the president’s mind, but U.S. sources said there was no concerted dialogue between the administration and the WHO over reform.

Earlier this month, the World Health Assembly (WHA) of member states agreed there should be a thorough review of the organization’s response to the pandemic.

The U.S. had lobbied to have Taiwan invited to the assembly as an observer, and had significant western support for the proposal. But European diplomats said the U.S. was half-hearted in its campaign and lost the tussle with China.

“What’s interesting, looking at the last WHA meeting for me, was a very clear sign that American influence has diminished significantly,” said Abraham Denmark, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia. “It was embarrassing that we weren’t able to wrangle international support for our policy goals in that meeting, and that China was able to really get what they needed out of that.”

MH/PA

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