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Iran slams unilateral sanctions as ‘crime against humanity’, says perpetrators must be held to account

Iran’s UN ambassador says the sanctions imposed on his fellow countrymen, especially those hampering their access to medical and humanitarian items, are tantamount to “a crime against humanity” whose perpetrators must be held to account.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi said none of the provisions of the UN Charter can be interpreted as permission for unilateral sanctions because such coercive measures are contrary to the general principles of international law and violate the prohibition on interfering in the countries’ domestic affairs.

He also complained that some UN member states – in breach of their international obligations – are the frontrunners in the use of illegal restrictive measures against other nations.

“For decades, Iran has been under the most severe economic and financial sanctions slapped by the United States. This has been unprecedented in history. The illegal measures have directly affected the lives of the most vulnerable Iranian citizens, including children, the elderly, and patients,” the envoy added.

“It is a sad fact that some patients, including children with rare diseases, have lost their lives as a result of sanctions on the import of medicines and medical supplies.”

Takht-Ravanchi further noted that unilateral coercive measures target the civilian population as part of a systematic policy and inflict suffering on people.

All sanctions, unilateral or multilateral, have adverse consequences for ordinary people and disproportionately affect children, women, patients, the elderly, and the poor, he said, adding that the bans also put people’s lives at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid where it is most needed.

Additionally, the ambassador expressed regret that some countries, which pursue their own illegitimate political interests, consider sanctions their preferred means of exerting maximum pressure on developing states.

“As the president of our country said in his speech at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, unilateral sanctions against the Iranian people, especially those on medicines and humanitarian items, are equal to committing crimes against humanity. The countries imposing sanctions on others should not go unpunished for their heinous crimes,” he emphasized.

In 2015, Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was ratified in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

However, the US under former president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted by the accord.

The Trump administration also launched what it called a maximum pressure campaign against Iran, targeting the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” sanctions.

Although Trump failed to reach its professed goals with his maximum pressure campaign, the sanctions have badly hurt the Iranian population.

The sanctions, preserved under the Joe Biden administration, have restricted the financial channels necessary to pay for basic goods and medicine, undermining supply chains by limiting the number of suppliers willing to facilitate sales of humanitarian goods to the country.

Iran has denounced the unilateral bans as an “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism” in recent years.

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