Tehran: US doesn’t allow Iran to use Swiss trade channel for importing medicine

Press TV – The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has questioned the US claim that medicines are not subject to sanctions, saying Washington does not allow financial transactions through a Swiss humanitarian channel amid Tehran’s battle against the spreading coronavirus in the country.

“Although the Americans claim that medicines are not subject to sanctions, they have in reality closed the door [to Iran] and have not allowed our sources in other countries to get into the Swiss channel,” Abbas Mousavi said in an interview on Wednesday.

He slammed US measures and claims as “nothing but deception” and “idle talk.

He added that for the past three weeks Iran has been in talks with a country, where it has financial sources, to use them but noted that the state officials there have admitted that the US has been preventing the function of the new payment mechanism.

The US returned its sanctions against Iran after leaving a historic nuclear accord with the country and the P5+1 group in 2018. The measures defied the agreement’s multilateral nature and the fact that it had been ratified by the United Nations Security Council.

Washington then began forcing others to toe its sanctions line. Britain, France, and Germany have stopped their transactions with the Islamic Republic, bowing under the pressure.

In late January, the United States and Switzerland announced the launch of a channel to ship food and medicine to Iran from the Scandinavian country.

The US has claimed that humanitarian supplies, including food and medicine, are exempt from anti-Iran sanctions, but the bans have deterred several foreign banks from doing any business with Tehran.

Iran has already dismissed as “insufficient” the Swiss-US channel, arguing that the United States is originally banned by the International Court of Justice from subjecting Iran’s much-needed medical supplies to sanctions.

“We do not recognize any such so-called humanitarian channel. We do not recognize sanctions [for that matter]. Medicine and foodstuffs were never subject to sanctions in the first place so they can now create a channel [for their transfer] with much publicity,” Mousavi said on February 3.

On October 3, 2018, the Hague-based International Court of Justice, the UN’s principal judicial organ, issued a ruling ordering the US to halt its unilateral sanctions on “humanitarian” supplies to Iran. The verdict came following a lawsuit lodged by Iran in July of the same year.