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President Rouhani: US Administration Helping Spread of Coronavirus by Anti-Iran Sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a message to the American people said that the US government’s unilateral sanctions against Iran deprive the country of medical equipment and drugs needed to fight against coronavirus and will lead to the further spread of the disease.

President Rouhani said that the “brutal” sanctions unilaterally imposed on the Iranian nation by the US are depriving a great number of Iranians of health, jobs and sources of income, urging the American people not to allow the current administration’s hostile attitude toward Iran to tarnish history of their country.

“On behalf of the great Iranian nation, I write to the people of the United States of America on the occasion of the Iranian New Year (Nowruz). The coronavirus outbreak has endangered the health of—and even presented a considerable threat to—humanity with no distinction as to nationality, or gender or religious backgrounds. This offers an opportune moment to further contemplate our common pains and our human principles,” he said. 

“Today, all of humankind feels apprehensive toward the future; a future threatened in every aspect; be it health, business, and even social relationships and the way of life,” President Rouhani said.

He noted that the level of unpredictability and uncertainty is simply unprecedented, adding, “It is self-evident that our success in what is likely to be a long fight depends on the spiritual and heartfelt affinity of all human beings. The international defense that we have to mount will not be successful without camaraderie on the part of the entire humankind. Today, instead of soldiers belonging to different armies; human soldiers, donning similar unicolor uniforms belonging to no particular country, are selflessly and altruistically at war against the enemy of humans across the globe. In this common fight, we all belong to one front. We all seek to prevail over our common enemy: a deadly virus. With this enemy, in contrast to other issues, we have no difference of views, and we do not diverge on its nature, its definition and its destructive consequences for the whole of humanity.”

“Historically, the government of the United States, regrettably, once chose to assist what is worse than a virus — the regime of Saddam Hussein — at a time that the Iranian people were attacked, and Iranian (even Iraqi) women, men and children were not spared by that butcher. Although with the passage of time the US government noted its errors, it learned no lesson from them. As Daesh terrorist group wreaked havoc on the Middle East through its criminal deeds and extremist dogmas, the current US government handed this terrorist group a victory by assassinating the man who most effectively brought about its destruction.”

“Today, at a time that the Iranian people are harmed by both the deadly coronavirus and the most brutal form of US economic terrorism in history, the US government is not willing to abandon its malicious policy of maximum pressure; and is thus in practice aiding the spread of this virus with its sanctions,” President Rouhani said.

“Following its illegal withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US government has implemented more than one hundred collective punishment measures against the Iranian people, specifically targeting Iran’s principal economic and financial sectors, and inflicting damages amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran’s economy and the Iranian people. The sanctions imposed by the US government have resulted in many ordinary Iranians losing their jobs and incomes. It has also endangered their health and well-being. The sanctions have drastically undermined the ability of the Iranian people to fight the coronavirus and some among them are losing their lives as a result.”

He addressed the people of the United States, and said, “You, like others in the world, are facing this destructive pandemic and experiencing the bitterness of a concern over your future and that of your loved ones. This time, the surrounding oceans of the continent of America are not an adequate defense for the American people in the face of threat and danger. We know the war on this virus can only be successful if all nations can win this war together, and no affected nation is left behind. This is the other side of globalization coin; a signal that happiness and calamity are both globalized. As Sa’adi, our national poet, recited centuries ago, Adam’s children are limbs of one body. Therefore, an injured limb makes the whole body ill. Thus, no border and no wall can shield any nation from the harm of this or any other virus.”

“I warn that under a pandemic situation, Tehran, Paris, London and Washington are not far apart, and any hostile actor seeking to undermine Iran’s health system and restrict the needed financial resources to tackle the crisis, will undermine the fight against the pandemic all over the world. COVID-19 is a matter of life and death in the true sense of the term for all nations, and countering it is the global duty of all.”

“The Iranian people have been, and still are, resistant throughout history. Throughout millennia, Iranians prevailed against warmongers, from Genghis to Saddam, and withstood natural disasters, from cholera to plague, resiliently safeguarding their culture and civilization. This time, too, they will repel this virus as well as the sanctions born of the brutal policy of maximum pressure, and will endure once again with resilience and pride,” the Iranian president said.

“But can the American people accept that these oppressive pressures are brought to bear on the Iranian people in their name, as a result of their vote, and by the means of their taxes? The imperative of countering the new coronavirus has suspended sporting events, public ceremonies, religious congregations, and forced the closing of schools, universities, houses of worship and businesses across the globe. Isn’t it astonishing that even under such circumstances, there is no halt to pressure, sanctions and brutality? Are we to believe the claim of a readiness for humanitarian assistance from those who so brazenly violate human rights?”

“On this March 20th, the Iranian people, along with peoples from 12 other countries, celebrate the Iranian Nowruz (meaning new day and new time), and the beginning of the spring. We should take this as an opportunity to adopt a new humanitarian approach toward fellow human beings,” he added

Addressing the people of the United States, President Rouhani said, “In the name of justice and humanity, I address your conscience and God-bestowed souls, and call upon you to make your Administration and representatives in Congress see that the path of sanctions and pressure has never been successful and will never be so in the future. It is human discourse and action that produce results.

Regrettably, the erroneous analysis of the situation in the region and misguided recommendations from Iran’s regional enemies have impeded the way to correcting the destabilizing and interventionist policies of the American government in the world, and in the Middle East in particular.”

“Despite winning the election on the promise of withdrawing from the Middle East and returning American soldiers to their homes, the failure to fulfill this mandate and efforts to reach into the pockets of the American people to finance an unprecedented campaign of intervention in the region are manifest. This disastrous approach has resulted in the US engaging in enmity with the country most central to defeating Daesh.”

“Regrettably, the most aggressive and reactionary enemies of democracy and human rights in the world, who have occupied the lands of others, or have deprived their own peoples of even one free election, have become advisers to the US government and are imposing their own interests upon the American people. Currently, a union between virus and sanctions has become the hallmark of their policy towards Iran. The victims of the virus and the sanctions are ordinary Iranians from all walks of life and not the political elite,” he added.

“The time has come for the American people to speak loudly and hold their government accountable, thus halting this dark chapter in American history. A return to international law and the principles of human rights will be in the interest of the American people and all nations throughout the world. Future generations will judge the American people based on the actions of their government, and the malicious behavior displayed thus far before the peoples of the world bodes poorly in that regard.”

“As the negotiations that resulted in the nuclear deal proved, we in Iran have always been ready for dialogue and have never feared it. In our view, it is a legal, moral and international imperative for every party to comply with its obligations. We have demonstrated our fidelity to our commitments and rejected the noncompliance demonstrated by other parties,” he said.

President Rouhani noted that the Iranian people value friendship and respect based on the principles of dignity and humanity and respond positively to overtures based on such values, adding, “Simultaneously, they are ready to resist pressure and threats, as they have heroically throughout history. We are a glorious and proud people with millennia of civilization. We react to the language of force with the language of power and to the language of dignity with the language of respect.”

“I wish all of you, especially Americans of Iranian descent, a happy spring and New Year.”

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting over 170 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 11,400 people and infected over 276,000 others globally.

Iran reported on Friday 1,433 fatalities and 19,644 cases of infection. Meanwhile, 6,745 people have 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 for the next two weeks.

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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