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Iran: Unilateral sanctions hamper fight against coronavirus in developing states

Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations has expressed concern about the effects of unilateral sanctions on developing countries’ fight against the coronavirus outbreak, underlining the need for a coordinated global response to the pandemic.

Kazem Gharibabadi made the remarks in an address to the 48th Session of the UNIDO Industrial Development Board, which was held virtually on Monday.

He said that the battle against COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, requires a comprehensive and coordinated multilateral approach that supports the vulnerable countries.

“We still witness the use of unilateral sanctions against countries in clear violation of the goals and principles of the UN Charter, international law and human rights as well as the principles of multilateralism and the norms of diplomacy and international relations,” Gharibabadi said.

“We express our deep concern about the serious consequences of the coronavirus for many developing countries, including those that are vulnerable and face serious challenges beyond their control,” he added.

The Iranian envoy also stressed that the highly contagious virus should be contained through global cooperation and solidarity.

“We strongly believe that now is the critical time for cooperation and communication not only on the basis of shared responsibility, but also through a decisive joint action as an international community,” he said.

Gharibabadi further urged UNIDO to increase its cooperation with other agencies of the world body to ensure the affected countries’ continued access to medical equipment as well as fair production and distribution of vaccines.

In recent months, calls have been growing inside the US and abroad for Washington to lift its unilateral sanctions, which are throwing a wrench into global efforts to rein in the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The UN, the European Union and human rights organizations as well as several American lawmakers and political figures have been pressing the US administration to ease the bans on Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and North Korea, among others on the sanctions list.

The administration of President Donald Trump reinstated US sanctions against Iran in May 2018 after leaving a UN-endorsed multilateral nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic and five other countries.

Washington keeps alleging that foodstuffs and medicinal products are exempt from the inhumane restrictive measure against Iran, a claim that Tehran says is totally untrue.

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