U.S. sanctions impede Iran’s ability to fight Covid-19: Zarif

September 27, 2020 - 17:36

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the United States of impeding Iran’s ability to fight the coronavirus outbreak, saying that U.S. sanctions have prevented the purchase of critical medical supplies.

In an interview with Russia Today published on Sunday, Zarif said Washington’s efforts to stop Tehran from exporting oil have limited the government’s ability to respond to the global health crisis and provide relief to the Iranian people.

Iran also has “quite a bit of money stashed in countries abroad,” he said, adding that the U.S. has prevented Tehran from gaining access to these funds, even to buy medicine.

“Whatever the Americans are saying about their sanctions not affecting humanitarian items, it’s just a lie... It’s basically medical terrorism,” Zarif notes. The top Iranian diplomat noted that, due to U.S. sanctions, Iran could not use its “own money” to ensure access to coronavirus vaccines under development. 

Iran cannot even purchase doses of influenza vaccine, Zarif lamented. 

“Whatever the Americans are saying about their sanctions not affecting humanitarian items, it’s just a lie... It’s basically medical terrorism,” he said.

The foreign minister also pointed out that even Washington’s European allies have stated that they will not abandon their commitments under the Iran nuclear agreement.

The nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in July 2015 between Iran, China, France, Russia, Germany, Iran, the UK, the EU and the United States. However, Washington unilaterally exited the deal in May 2018, and pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran. 

Tehran has described the U.S. sanctions as “economic terrorism” and “medical terrorism” on various occasions, citing the high number of deaths as a direct result of the illegal sanctions.

On Thursday, Zarif urged the international community to confront the United States’ economic and medical terrorism.

“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.

“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 added.

MH/PA

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