US bans should not block humanitarian aid to Iran: EU’s Borrell

Tasnim – European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said the US sanctions against Iran should not prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid to the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Member States have already agreed on a position which has been published in the form of a declaration and in this declaration we make it very clear that it is absolutely essential that the sanctions do not prevent the provision of humanitarian aid, that’s why we gave our support to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and we asked that everyone grant the necessary conditions so that everyone is sure that there will not be sanctions for those involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid,” Borrell said on Tuesday via video conference during the first informal meeting of Europe’s defense ministers on ways to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to the official website of the EU.

“In the case of the United Nations and the European Union, it is clear that our sanctions are not a problem from the point of view of the facilitation of humanitarian aid. But we ask that this be done (also) by other countries that have established sanctions and that there be humanitarian exemptions to provide medical supplies and equipment to the countries that are subject to sanctions: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, (so that sanctions) do not prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid,” he added.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) also called on the US to take immediate action and ease its sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the bans are “negatively affecting the Iranian government’s ability to adequately respond” to the crisis.

Iran has been among the countries hardest hit by the new coronavirus, which first showed up in China in late December 2019 before spreading to other parts of the world.

Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman announced on Monday that more than 24,000 coronavirus patients have recovered from the disease so far and have been discharged from hospital.

Kianoosh Jahanpoor said the number of people tested positive for COVID-19 across the country reached 60,500 following the detection of 2,274 new cases.