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Iran FM: US Sanctions Endangering Iranian People’s Life

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that a huge part of the danger Iranians are facing now amid the coronavirus outbreak is due to sanctions and restrictions “unjustly” imposed on them by Washington.

Zarif released a video on Wednesday on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, to congratulate the Iranian nation, who is under the US’ tough sanctions and among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus, a happy and healthy year. 

Iran has lashed out at the US for “vengefully” refusing to lift its “unlawful and collective punishment” amid the country’s battle against the COVID19 outbreak, stressing all countries need to work together if they seek to emerge victorious against the fatal pandemic.

“At a time when we, Iranians, normally celebrate Nowruz, our New Year concurrent with the arrival of spring, we are faced with multiple and historic challenges. My country is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus even as like other nations we are now learning how to better confront it,” Zarif said.

“Iran, today, is the most intensely sanctioned country in history, not in line with United Nations decisions but contrary to them. The economic siege imposed on us impedes all legitimate trade and deprives us of our own resources — the ones necessary to address the needs of our people, including their health and livelihoods,” he noted.

“If we are to make the world that will emerge from #COVID19 a better one, we must seize the opportunity to forge new path.”

He criticized the US’ draconian policy of maximum pressure against Iran, saying, “Even amid this pandemic, the US government has vengefully refused to lift its unlawful and collective punishment, making it virtually impossible for us to even buy medicine and medical equipment.”

He also took a swipe at other countries for bowing to US pressures and said, “The bigger tragedy is that many companies and countries which officially opposed these sanctions have chosen to comply with them, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the future wrath of the United States despite President Trump time and again proving that this is just wishful thinking.”

“Dear friends, allow me to be frank! We are all in this together. To better confront the virus, we need to better work together. Those who passively comply with the whims of unilateralist bullies must wake up to the reality that they are also responsible for the destructive ramifications of aggressive unilateralism.,” he stressed.

He, however, said he was confident that the Iranian nation “relying on millennium of civilization and unified national resilience will overcome these challenges and emerge as a stronger and more compassionate community.”

 “If we are to make the world that will emerge from COVID19 a better one, it is vital that we seize the opportunity to forge a new path,” he said in conclusion.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 170 countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 8,900 people and infected over 220,000 others globally.

Iran reported on Wednesday 1,135 fatalities and 17,361 cases of infection. Meanwhile, 5,710 people have recovered.

The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended for the next two weeks.

The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s north, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.

Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.

He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.

Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.

He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.

Namaki said that the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 22, and will increase to 40 soon.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran’s response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.

The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.

The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.

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