Iran joins group of countries at UN in forming coalition against sanctions

March 12, 2021 - 21:47

TEHRAN – Iran joined a group of more than a dozen countries in forming a coalition to defend the UN Charter by opposing the use of force and sanctions.

Reuters reported on Friday that China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and others are seeking support for a coalition to defend the United Nations Charter by pushing back against the use or threat of force and unilateral sanctions.

A concept note for the “Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations,” seen by Reuters, states that multilateralism “is currently under an unprecedented attack, which, in turn, threatens global peace and security.”

Other founding members of the group are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria and Venezuela.

The concept note said, “The world is seeing a growing resort to unilateralism, marked by isolationist and arbitrary actions, including the imposition of unilateral coercive measures or the withdrawal from landmark agreements and multilateral institutions, as well as by attempts to undermine critical efforts to tackle common and global challenges.”

‘Long-term consequences of sanctions are as brutal as terrorism’

Iran has long criticized the use of sanctions by the U.S. On Thursday, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi has denounced sanctions as inhumane, immoral and illegal, saying their far-reaching, devastating and long-term consequences are as brutal and vicious as terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to Press TV.

“In order to combat food insecurity in the world, it is necessary to lift siege and sanctions and foster international cooperation,” Takht-Ravanchi said via videoconference to a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday that discussed how conflict and food security are interlinked.

“The current number of people at risk of hunger and food insecurity in the world is alarming, which has made it essential and urgent to deal with this challenge,” he added.

Takht-Ravanchi then highlighted the right to food is the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger and malnutrition under any circumstances, whether in peace or war.

The senior Iranian diplomat stressed that full realization of such a right requires a comprehensive approach and effective measures, both at national and international levels, which would particularly address all root causes of food insecurity and ensure secure international cooperation.

The Iranian diplomat stressed the need for closer cooperation among the General Assembly, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as well as the relevant institutions and agencies of the world body to that goal.

“To combat the acute food insecurity caused by conflicts, the Security Council needs to oblige all parties to adhere to these principles, and at the same time the Council itself must not, under any circumstances, boycott humanitarian trade, especially food and medicine,” he pointed out.

“Nothing is more urgent than the immediate lifting of the inhumane siege against the Yemeni people, and removal of the illegal blockade of Gaza,” Takht-Ravanchi continued.

He described sanctions as the main reason behind food insecurity, noting that the U.S. anti-Iran bans have prevented Tehran from gaining access to food, medicine as well as medical equipment, and undermined the Islamic Republic’s ability to effectively deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Countries should not use economic and political coercive tools to put pressure on other governments; and immediate removal of sanctions should be taken into consideration as a key step in tackling food insecurity,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

 ‘Just a lie’

So far, several Iranian officials have denounced the U.S. sanctions, saying the U.S. restrictions on Iran have impacted the lives of ordinary Iranians. 

Last September, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad 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.

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.

Zarif reiterated this position in a tweet on Thursday, underlining that the U.S. prevents Iran from using its own money to purchase food and medicines.

“U.S. claims it favors diplomacy; not Trump's failed policy of ‘maximum pressure.’ Yet @SecBlinken boasts about blocking Korea from transferring our OWN money to the Swiss Channel—only used for food & meds. Repeating the same policy won't yield new results. Only way: #CommitActMeet,” the chief Iranian diplomat wrote.

Last October, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also highlighted the U.S. “cruel” efforts to prevent Iran from buying medicines after Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran’s banking sector at the time. He said these sanctions were an effort of a ‘terrorist, cruel and inhumane' nature aimed at putting major obstacles to fund transfers for the purchase of medicine and food amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone is witnessing that Washington’s move is in full violation of international law; and in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House’s attitude is completely against humanity; and the so-called advocates of human rights should condemn it globally,” Rouhani said in a phone call with Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati.

Also in October, Iran’s High Council for Human Rights said despite U.S. claims that humanitarian affairs are not covered by sanctions, blocking financial transactions between Iran and the world has practically obstructed importation of humanitarian articles and drugs used to treat people with serious diseases, according to Press TV.

“As attested to by the American officials’ remarks, measures taken by the lawbreaking regime of America have clearly taken aim at the health and lives of [the Iranian] people and are considered 'crime against humanity',” the council said in a statement at the time.

The head of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights also said on October 5 that the body is planning to prosecute 46 American natural and legal persons involved in the imposition of unjust sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which among other things, have prevented the country from importing medications necessary to treat patients with serious diseases.



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