Iran’s Zarif says Swiss humanitarian channel ‘small step’

Al-Monitor – A new financial channel has opened up between Iran and Switzerland that will permit the sale of humanitarian supplies to the country, which has become increasingly financially isolated due to US sanctions. In a ceremony with camera crews, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Iran Markus Leitner unveiled boxes of medical supplies, which caused a bit of controversy given that the medicine was actually purchased by Iran even though the presentation of the ceremony made it appear as if the medicine was a donation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, was not enthusiastic about the announcement and rejected the idea that the alleged US role in permitting the channel to open would lead to a decrease in tensions. “This channel is less than the order of implementation of the International Court of Justice, which told the United States it does not have the right to block the entry of food and medicine into Iran,” Zarif told reporters Feb. 3. “America’s policy is still a policy of pressure on the Iranian people. It is a policy of depriving people of financial resources to purchase food and medicine,” Zarif added.

He continued, “This is a very small step that the government of Switzerland put together, and we are grateful for their efforts. But this is not a sign of America’s good intentions.” Zarif added, “It is not even a sign that the United States has taken the smallest step in the direction of fulfilling its commitments based on the ruling of the International Court of Justice let alone based on the nuclear deal.”

Read more here