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Iran’s UN Envoy: US Claims to Spare Humanitarian Items from Sanctions Mere Lie

Iran's Permanent Representative to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi dismissed the claims by the US that sanctions exclude humanitarian aids, saying that banking sanctions have made export of any cargo to Iran impossible.

“Americans claim that humanitarian aids, medicine, agricultural and pharmaceutical items are not sanctioned”, said Takht-Ravanchi, adding, “This is just a claim, we have to see in practice how much this is true”.

Another major issue is the bank sanctions, which means banks are afraid of being fined by the US government, he noted.

Emphasizing that Americans have to prove themselves in practice, the Iranian diplomat said that it is useless to only repeat that sanctions do not include humanitarian items.

The United States has imposed new sanctions against 20 companies, officials and individuals in Iran and Iraq, despite growing global pressure on the US to end sanctions on Iran as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement on Thursday the sanctions freeze any US-held assets of those designated and generally bar Americans from doing business with them.

Over the past week, there have been global calls on the US to lift illegal sanctions, which have hampered Tehran’s access to lifesaving medical supplies as the country is trying to contain the coronavirus and help treat patients.

Meanwhile, Iran has roundly denounced the US claims for sending aid as hypocritical, saying had the US genuinely sought to help, it should have lifted its sanctions targeting the country.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting over 197 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 27,300 people and infected over 597,000 others globally.

Iran reported on Friday that a total number of 2,378 coronavirus patients have died and 32,332 cases of infection have been identified in the country so far. Meanwhile, 11,133 people have also 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 until early April.

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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