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Iran: US Sanctions are ‘crime against humanity’, affect most vulnerable people

An Iranian envoy to the United Nations has denounced as “crime against humanity” the imposition of sanctions against the nation, saying such unilateral restrictive measures have put the lives of vulnerable people at risk by hampering their access to medicine.

Zahra Ershadi, deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, made the remarks at the UN Commission for Social Development.

She complained that illegal sanctions have made it very difficult for vulnerable groups in countries such as Iran to access basic medical items and thus put their lives at stake.

The Iranian envoy also said that the import of medicines as well as medical equipment and hygiene products have been severely hindered by restrictions on foreign exchange resources.

The illegal measures have a direct negative impact on the lives of the most vulnerable Iranian citizens, including women, children, and patients, she said, adding that many children have died as a result of such inhumane bans.

“As our president stated in his address to the UNGA session, unilateral sanctions against the Iranian people, particularly sanctions on medicine and humanitarian items, are criminal acts on par with crimes committed against humanity. Those who sanction countries should not go unpunished for such heinous crimes,” Ershadi asserted.

“As the representative of a country whose people are subjected to the most brutal form of economic terrorism and illegitimate unilateral coercive measures by the United States, I call for the complete and immediate lifting of all unilateral coercive measures including sanctions in order to ensure the full achievement of economic and social development and enable the targeted countries to repair their economies while guaranteeing the well-being of their people in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

She further noted that despite the sanctions, the Iranian government has managed to provide poor and vulnerable people with special financial packages and social and economic rehabilitation programs, in addition to devising economic support measures, especially for small businesses.

The government, she said, has also prepared medical treatment programs for about 4 million legal and illegal Afghan refugees.

Back in May 2018, the US began to unilaterally impose sanctions against Iran after the former left the Iran agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US, under former president Donald Trump, launched what it called a maximum pressure campaign against Iran at the time, targeting the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” sanctions.

Although Trump failed to reach its professed goals with his maximum pressure campaign, the bans 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 repeatedly denounced the sanctions as an act of “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism”.

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