Russia’s Lavrov: US’ ‘illegal’ sanctions hamper Iran’s fight against coronavirus pandemic

Press TV – Russia has voiced “complete solidarity” with Iran in the face of the United States’ illegal and inhumane sanctions, which have targeted the Islamic Republic notwithstanding Tehran’s ongoing uphill battle against the new coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement came in a letter penned on Thursday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in which the Russian side reiterated Moscow’s position concerning the US bans.

Lavrov underlined how the American measures have come in the way of Iran’s fight against the novel virus, highlighting the “serious damage” that the infection has inflicted on the Islamic Republic.

The US reimposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran after leaving a multilateral and historic nuclear accord between Iran major world powers, including Russia, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018.

Under the deal, the US had lifted its anti-Iran sanctions in return for the Islamic Republic making changes in its peaceful nuclear program.

The withdrawal and the snapback of the draconian measures came, although the United Nations Security Council has endorsed the nuclear deal in the form of a resolution.

The top Russian diplomat pointed to the “illegal and unilateral nature” of the sanctions, and said, “We have been constantly calling on the US to remove the sanctions and refrain from creating an obstacle in the way of the [Iran’s] all-out battle against the coronavirus infection.”

Lavrov also urged Western European states — including the UK, France, and Germany, which are still parties to the nuclear deal — “not to be affected by Washington’s attempts to threaten them [into towing the sanction line] and [instead] keep up their interaction with the Iranian partners.”

The Russian official finally said that Moscow’s ongoing “persistent and coordinated” diplomatic cooperation with like-minded countries against Washington’s maneuvers was sure to “bring about certain results.”

Iran sued the US at the International Court of Justice after the latter reinstated the sanctions. The tribunal ruled that Washington has to lift the bans on Iran-headed humanitarian supplies.

Washington alleges that it has exempted foodstuff and medicine from the bans. Tehran roundly rejects the claim.

Zarif has written to the UN and all international organizations, urging removal of the US’ measures and underlining their counterproductive effects on Iran’s fight against the viral outbreak.

In March, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the leaders of the G-20 economic powers to roll back international sanction regimes around the world, including the ones against Iran, amid the pandemic.

The novel virus can cause a potentially deadly infection called COVID-19. Since emerging in central China late last year, the virus has claimed nearly 266,000 people worldwide, including 6,486 in Iran.