Iran, Switzerland agree to confront sanctions on medicine

FNA- Iran and Switzerland have agreed to cooperate against possible US sanctions Tehran’s imports of medicine and basic pharmaceutical materials needed to produce drugs.

“Although the sanctions apparently do not include drugs, foodstuff and related materials, past experience has proved that they will include these fields too and the financial restrictions on the sales of oil and oil products would affect this sector too,” Iranian Health Minister Seyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said after inking a comprehensive document with Switzerland in the field of health and hygiene in Bern on Tuesday.

He explained that the Iranian and Swiss officials discussed ways to annul the sanctions which would leave impacts on the pharmaceutical sector, adding that a joint economic commission is due to be held to prevent possible problems.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is currently on a crucial visit to Europe, where he is expected to discuss the fate of the 2015 nuclear agreement after the US withdrawal and its threats of sanctions against Iran.

From Switzerland, the Iranian president traveled to Austria where he will meet President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and oversee the signing of some documents for cooperation.

A key subject on the agenda, however, is a package which the Europeans are expected to offer to Iran in order to keep the country in the JCPOA.

Rouhani in a letter to his counterparts in the European and Latin American states last month outlined his country’s demands from its partners to remain under the 2015 nuclear deal, warning that time is running out and Europeans should race up to meet Tehran’s expectations.

Chief of staff of Iran’s president had confirmed earlier this month that Rouhani had sent a letter to EU leaders following the US unilateral pullout from the nuclear deal.

In the first part of the letter, President Rouhani has underlined Iran’s conditions to remain committed to the nuclear deal, specially the European states’ objective guarantees to meet Iran’s interests after the US withdrawal from the agreement.

The president has then complained about the European states’ defiance and violations in the implementation of the nuclear deal, including the major European banks that refrained from interaction with Iran.

In the third part, Rouhani has threatened the European leaders that Iran would withdraw from the nuclear deal if its interests and goals are not met.

In his letter, Rouhani has also cautioned the European leaders that time is running out and the EU needs to take an immediate decision about the nuclear deal.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the US would no longer remain part of the JCPOA and promised to re-impose the highest level of economic sanctions against Iran in response to Tehran’s development of its nuclear program.

After Trump’s declaration, the Iranian government issued a statement, calling the US withdrawal as “unlawful”. The statement underlined Iran’s prerequisites for continuing the deal with the five world powers after the US pullout of the agreement.

“Iran, as a country that has remained committed to its legal obligations, will pursue the US Government’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA as provided by the mechanisms and provisions of the accord, and if the US withdrawal is not fully compensated and the full interests of the Iranian people are not met and guaranteed – as stated in the accord and as outlined by Iran’s Leader on 9 May – it will exercise its legal right to take whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient. Other parties to the JCPOA, and especially its three European signatories, must take necessary action to safeguard the accord and to implement their commitments – which they proved incapable of fully performing even while the US was nominally a party to the deal, due to the obstructions by the Trump Administration – and to proceed from giving pledges to taking practical action without any preconditions,” it said.

“None of the provisions or timeframes within the JCPOA, which were the subject of twelve years of negotiations, are negotiable in any manner. The US, which has through its meddling and erroneous policies ignited extremism, terrorism, destruction, war and child killing in our region, is in no position to issue any diktat about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s lawful presence within its own region nor its effective support for the peoples of Syria and Iraq in their endeavor to fight extremists. The US and its allies, which through their support for the regime of Saddam Hussein, including equipping it with chemical weapons and the most advanced military equipment while blocking Iran’s access to any means of defense victimized the Iranian people for eight years, and currently turning our region into a powder keg through their sale of hundreds of billions of dollars of useless advanced weaponry devouring the financial resources of the region, are in no position to impose restrictions on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s lawful means of defense, including defensive ballistic missiles which have been designed to carry conventional weapons based on the bitter experiences of the war with the regime of Saddam Hussein. Indeed, such efforts explicitly violate the principles of international law, and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s legitimate right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter,” it added.

“As announced by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 8 May, the Foreign Minister has been tasked with the duty of taking the necessary measures to obtain required guarantees from the remaining parties to the JCPOA as well as Iran’s other economic partners, and to immediately report the results of this mission. Meanwhile, the President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been tasked with taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions, using the results of the latest research and development of Iran’s brave nuclear scientists.”

“The people of Iran will with calm and confidence continue their path towards progress and development and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has foreseen all necessary measures to facilitate this under any circumstances,” the statement continued.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a secure and powerful state, which derives its security and economic development from within, relying on the prudent participation and resilience of its brave and civilized people, seeks constructive and dignified engagement with the world, and as shown by its implementation of the JCPOA despite the United States’ continuous violations, is a trustworthy and committed partner for all who are prepared to cooperate on the basis of shared interests and mutual respect,” it reiterated.