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Unilateral sanctions breach of intl. law, crime against humanity: Iran envoy

Iran’s permanent ambassador to the UN office in Geneva has denounced unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic as violation of international law and “a crime against humanity,” calling on the international community to close ranks in the face of “the blatant injustice.”

Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh made the remarks at the 45th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, one day after the administration of US President Donald Trump slapped a raft of new restrictive measures on Iran in support of its “maximum pressure” campaign against the nation.

He slammed Washington’s disregard for numerous requests from the UN chief, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and human rights bodies for lifting the sanctions, warning that such an approach is an alarm for the world and thus should be countered.

The official reaffirmed that unilateral sanctions violate international law and amount to “a crime against humanity” because of their negative impacts on ordinary Iranians.

The international community must unite in the face of “the blatant injustice,” Baghaei Hamaneh added while speaking during the interactive dialog with Alena Douhan, UN special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

The fresh US sanctions targeted 27 Iranian entities and people in the nuclear, missile and conventional arms sectors. Washington claimed it had triggered the so-called snapback of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran, including the arms embargo.

However, both UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the vast majority of the 15-strong Security Council insisted the US does not have the legal power to take the steps under the banner of the UN as it had withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal two years ago.

Baghaei Hamaneh said the US claim that it had unilaterally reinstated the terminated UN Security Council resolutions on Iran was another sign of Washington’s “bullying and disregard for international law and the UN Charter. “

“Even international judicial institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) have not remained immune from US addiction to sanctions. The US Secretary of State recently sanctioned the prosecutor and several judges of the ICC for pursuing charges against the US military in Afghanistan,” he noted.

Under international law, he emphasized, the world countries should not recognize or implement the unlawful measures of those sanctioning others since such violations run counter to their sovereignty and international human rights obligations.

“Iran would continue its policy of maximum resistance against America’s illegal and unjust pressure,” the Iranian diplomat said.

The US has been tightening its sanctions against Iran in recent months, defying warnings from Tehran and international human rights organizations that the restrictions are severely hampering the Iranian health sector’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

UN expert slams unilateral sanctions

During the session, Douhan presented a report on the negative effects of unilateral coercive measures.

She said unilateral restrictive measures could impact nearly all human rights, notably in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that such sanctions should not undermine the role of the United Nations.

“No pursuit of ‘common good’ could justify the violation of fundamental human rights, including the right to life, the right to health and the right to food, especially in respect of those whose rights unilateral sanctions sought to promote,” the UN expert added.

Douhan urged the international community to give “proportionate responses to guarantee that human rights were observed.”

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