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Iran: US sanctions aggravate coronavirus pandemic, detrimental to entire world

Iran’s United Nations envoy has renewed the call for the lifting of unilateral American sanctions against other countries amid a global fight to curtail the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, saying the restrictions only cause the pandemic to accelerate.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the comments in a letter to the president of the UN General Assembly, days after the world body adopted a resolution on the pandemic titled ‘Global Solidarity to Fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).’

The resolution — the first of its kind — calls for intensified global cooperation to defeat the deadly disease that is causing “severe disruption” to societies and economies.

In his letter, Iran’s UN envoy slammed the US sanctions as a challenge to the targeted countries’ efforts to rein in the fast spread of the virus worldwide.

The unilateral sanctions merely benefit the coronavirus and work to the detriment of the entire world, Takht-e-Ravanchi said.

He referred to the problems caused by the US sanctions for the targeted countries’ battle against the disease, saying the restrictive measures not only hurt those countries’ citizens, but also damage the global fight against the coronavirus and endanger the health of all inhabitants of the planet.

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For an effective combat against the pandemic, it is a necessity for the US to remove the sanctions, the official added.

Iran’s UN envoy further censured Washington over ignoring the global calls for sanctions relief during the outbreak, including those by the UN chief, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Instead of heeding these calls, the US has even further tightened its sanctions, Takht-Ravanchi noted.

As a long-pursued policy, the United States frequently resorts to harsh economic sanctions to put pressure on nations that refuse to follow its lead in the international arena.

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 COVID-19.

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

The United States reinstated its sanctions against Iran in May 2018 after leaving a UN-endorsed nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic and five other countries.

Over the past few weeks, Washington has issued new rounds of sanctions targeting companies doing business with Tehran.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will continue with its economic sanctions against Iran as part of its attempts to bring about “regime change.”

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Iran has been among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, recording 67,286 infections and 4,003 deaths so far.

The anti-Iran measures have blocked the country’s access to global markets and lifesaving medical supplies.

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