Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has taken European countries to task for not fulfilling their promises to counteract the impact of US sanctions against Iran following Washington’s withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, asking Europeans to at least carry out their ‘minimal human duty’ toward Iranians.
Last year, President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Tehran.
Washington claims the sanctions target the government, but ordinary Iranians are the ones who suffer the most.
In a joint statement on Friday, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden said they would become new shareholders in a non-dollar trade mechanism with Iran, known as INSTEX.
“In light of the continuous European support for the agreement and the ongoing efforts to implement the economic part of it and to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran, we are now in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) subject to completion of national procedures,” their statement said.
Britain, France, and Germany (which are known as E3/EU) had announced the establishment of the system in January. The apparatus is meant to circumvent the sanctions that the United States began re-imposing against Iran last year after leaving a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic and the trio, Russia, and China.
Taking to his official Twitter page on Monday, Zarif wrote, “Instead of arrogant threats or hollow paper promises, E3/EU—and future INSTEX shareholder Sweden—should start with something very simple; a minimal human duty: Ask @molnlyckehc to SELL products enabling Iranian kids with EB to cover their wounds.”
Last November, the Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council (IRIMC) said illegal economic sanctions have negative impacts on the country’s health sector.
The trade of humanitarian goods, such as food, medicine and medical devices, is on paper allowed by the US, though European companies still refuse to do business with Iran fearing secondary American sanctions.
Since the reimposition of sanctions, Swedish medical products firm Molnlycke Health Care has stopped delivering Mepilex dressings, which are trusted around the world to treat a wide range of chronic and acute wounds, including in EB patients, Iranian media reports say.
In another tweet the same day, Iran’s top diplomat referred to recent remarks by his American counterpart, saying that Mike Pompeo “once again admits that US #EconomicTerrorism on Iran is designed to starve, and in the case of medical supplies, kill our innocent citizens.”
In an interview with BBC Persian on Nov. 7, the US secretary of state said Iranian officials must listen to Washington “if they want their people to eat.”
Pompeo’s remarks prompted Iran’s mission to the United Nations to call on the UN Security Council to condemn Pompeo’s “irresponsible” and “provocative” remarks while Zarif also reacted by stressing that the Islamic Republic will survive and even advance despite Washington’s sanctions.
The top American diplomat also made similar threats against Iran quite recently when during a discussion he was asked about the latest US sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Pompeo said, “…President Trump’s strategic effort certainly includes sanctions as an element of our efforts to make the leadership change their ways. But it is only one component, we think that has been an effective component, we think they are having to make very difficult choices about whether to feed their people, to provide medicine for their people or if they want to underwrite the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon.”