Press TV – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warns that the American sanctions are “literally” taking lives in Iran in the midst of a fight to rein in a coronavirus outbreak, calling on world states to join “a growing global campaign” to defy the “unlawful” restrictive measures.
In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Zarif said Washington’s sanctions have “drained the country’s economic resources” and are impairing its ability to fight the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
“They [sanctions] literally kill innocents. It is immoral to observe them: doing so has never saved anyone from future US wrath,” Zarif added.
The top Iranian diplomat called on those following the US lead to “join the growing global campaign to disregard” Washington’s sanctions on the Iranian nation.
President Donald Trump reinstated US sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) — known as the World Court — has ordered the US to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.
The US claims it does not get in the way of food and medicine exports to Iran, but the Islamic Republic says Washington has been creating problems for a Swiss humanitarian channel launched to enable the transfer of commodities to Iran.
The virus first emerged in China’s Hubei Province in late December and later reached other countries across all continents, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the disease as a pandemic.
In Iran, the total number of infections has reached 16,169. Also, the fatality count increased to 988, with 135 news deaths, according to the latest figures provided by the Health Ministry. A total of 5,389 patients have fully recovered.
In a letter sent to a number of world leaders on Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said unlike many countries infected with coronavirus, the Islamic Republic is faced with serious obstacles and restrictions emanating from two years of extensive and illegal sanctions, a maximum pressure campaign as well as systematic acts of sabotage by the US administration.
The Rouhani administration has asked the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion in emergency funding to fight off the outbreak.
Over the past weeks, calls have been growing on the world stage for the US to lift its illegal sanctions, which have severely affected Iran’s healthcare systems at a time when all countries are trying to join forces against the pandemic.
Pakistan PM: Iran sanctions should be lifted
On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the lifting of sanctions against Iran, the worst-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Khan said it was time to end US sanctions against Iran.
He said Iran was a “classic example” of a place where the humanitarian imperative to contain the outbreak outweighs political rivalries or economic dogmas.
Similarly, China said Monday that the “immoral” US sanctions on Iran must be lifted as soon as possible because they hamper the Islamic Republic’s ability to fight the coronavirus.
Russia has likewise lashed out at Washington’s “inhuman” sanctions against Iran in the middle of its battle against the deadly coronavirus, saying Washington’s sanctions create a strong barrier for Iran that has been hit heavily by the virus.
“Illegal unilateral US sanctions, imposed since May 2018 as part of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, are a powerful obstacle to effective fight against the infection,” it said.