Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

U.S. ‘vengefully’ refusing to lift sanctions: Iran

Agency News

Tehran, 19 March 2020: Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the huge part of the danger Iranians are facing now is due to restrictions “unjustly” imposed on them by the United States government.

On the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif released a video on Wednesday to congratulate the Iranian nation, who is under the US’ tough sanctions and among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus, a happy and healthy year.

“At a time when we, Iranians, normally celebrate Nowruz, our New Year concurrent with the arrival of spring, we are faced with multiple and historic challenges. My country is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus even as like other nations we are now learning how to better confront it,” he said.

“Iran, today, is the most intensely sanctioned country in history, not in line with United Nations decisions but contrary to them. The economic siege imposed on us impedes all legitimate trade and deprives us of our own resources -- the ones necessary to address the needs of our people, including their health and livelihoods,” he noted.

He criticized the US’ draconian policy of maximum pressure against Iran, saying, “Even amid this pandemic, the US government has vengefully refused to lift its unlawful and collective punishment, making it virtually impossible for us to even buy medicine and medical equipment.”

He also took a swipe at other countries for bowing to US pressures and said, “The bigger tragedy is that many companies and countries who officially opposed these sanctions have chosen to comply with them, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the future wrath of the United States despite President Trump time and again proving that this is just wishful thinking.”

The top Iranian diplomat said that the battle against the fatal coronavirus pandemic was a collective job.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 170 countries and territories around the world. Iran has reported 1,135 fatalities and 17,361 cases of infection. Iran is battling the virus as it has been under the harshest ever sanctions by the US, which were reimposed against the country after Washington left a UN-backed nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers in 2018.

The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 8,000 people and infected over 200,000 others globally. Iran says it does not count on the United States for help in its battle against the coronavirus because it does not trust Washington’s alleged offer of assistance.

Washington then began forcing others to toe its sanctions line. Britain, France, and Germany have stopped their transactions with the Islamic Republic, bowing under the pressure.

The US has claimed that humanitarian supplies, including food and medicine, are exempt from anti-Iran sanctions, but the bans have deterred several foreign banks from doing any business with Tehran.