Zarif urges action against U.S. economic, medical terrorism

September 25, 2020 - 12:3

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged the international community to confront the United States’ economic and medical terrorism, especially as the world is fighting off the coronavirus pandemic.

“We need to jointly confront the destructive impact of unilateral coercive measures on efforts to combat the pandemic,” Zarif told the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Thursday.

Kazakhstan has assumed the chairmanship of CICA for 2020-2022.

“They are nothing but economic and medical terrorism, and we must refuse to comply with these unlawful measures in our collective endeavor to tackle this common affliction of humanity,” he said, according to the Foreign Ministry website.

He called for international cooperation within the framework of CICA to secure a pivotal role for the organization, to advance multilateralism, and to ensure inclusive collaboration.

“It is imperative for us to pool our resources to jointly tackle the enormous challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Foreign Minister Zarif said through a videoconference.

Chairing a virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of the CICA members on Thursday, Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi said his country will continue promoting cooperation between CICA members and enhancing the body’s status in the international arena during the chairmanship. 

Hinting at Washington’s unilateral doctrine, Zarif said, “We all need to embrace multilateralism and reject unilateralism in addressing a global challenge of this magnitude; one that has defied all geographical, political and socio-economic divisions.”

Since assuming office, U.S. President Donald Trump has adopted a foreign policy of unilateralism, dismissing other countries’ collective efforts to resolve world issues.

Trump has withdrawn from a number of key international organizations and agreements, including the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015 under his predecessor Barack Obama

Washington’s sanctions against Iran, which were not lifted after the breakout of the coronavirus, has disrupted the country’s fight against the virus, making Iran the tenth hardest-hit country in the world.

“We need humility and multilateral cooperation to grapple with a microscopic enemy that has brought major powers to their knee—without deference to their military might, economic wealth and propaganda machines,” Zarif remarked.

As CICA members, he said, “We should strive to strengthen cooperation within the framework of our organization—in coordination with the UN and WHO—to ensure full, free and fair access to health services, medicine, and medical equipment for our peoples. We must also act to ensure that no one can arbitrarily challenge professional international organizations.”

The chief Iranian diplomat also said the only way to overcome common challenges is to work together to find common solutions that effectively and decisively address the sources of the threats. 

“My country stands ready to join our friends and neighbors in CICA and exchange knowledge and expertise in this collective mission,” he underlined.

Also, China on Thursday called on the CICA states to make concerted efforts in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.

CICA members should work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, firmly support the World Health Organization (WHO) in playing a leading and coordinating role, and oppose politicizing the pandemic and stigmatizing specific countries, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

MH/PA

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