Alwaght- Iran’s foreign minister urged European states to defy Washington’s anti-Iran sanctions amid epidemic of new coronavirus (COVID-19).
Hit by the US’ sanctions, Iran has been trying to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus which so far has infected some 15,000 people and killed 853 until Monday. Some 5,000 also have recovered.
In a Monday phone conversation with his British counterpart Dominic Raab, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the US’ illegal and unilateral sanctions against Iran as an obstacle to the battle with the global pandemic, Press TV reported.
He called on the UK to defy the US’ cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation under such circumstances, both on the basis of London’s commitments under the JCPOA and for human considerations.
He also praised the European Union and the three EU parties to the JCPOA – the UK, France and Germany - for sending aid to Iran for the fight against coronavirus.
The phone conversation came shortly after the Iranian ambassador to the UK announced Britain has agreed to pay an outstanding £400 million debt it owes to Iran plus the interest.
“The legal process of this long-running case, which has been going on for more than 50 years, is nearing its end,” Hamid Baeidinejad said in an interview with Iranian newspaper Etemad.
“The court has ordered the British government to pay the Iranian debt plus interest, and this cannot be changed. At the same time, the opposing lawyers have tried to use every legal opportunity to delay the practical execution of the court’s decision,” Baeidinejad added.
‘EU must not abide by US sanctions’
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Zarif also raised the issue of US sanctions in a separate phone conversation with the foreign minister of Croatia, the rotating president of the European Union.
In his phone talk with his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić-Radman, Zarif emphasized that the EU must not abide by the US unilateral and unlawful sanctions.
He said the EU should do this not only as a JCPOA obligation, but also to prevent the deaths of innocent Iranians due to the cruel US sanctions.
The Croatian foreign minister, in turn, expressed solidarity with the Iranian government and nation in their fight against the epidemic, and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
Russia urges US to lift anti-Iran measures amid COVID-19 pandemic
The Russian Foreign Ministry has lashed out at Washington's “inhuman" sanctions against Iran in the middle of its battle against the deadly coronavirus.
The ministry said in a statement that the US sanctions create a strong barrier for Iran that has been hit heavily by the virus.
"Illegal unilateral US sanctions, imposed since May 2018 as part of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, are a powerful obstacle to effective fight against the infection,” it said.
“The reason for the many victims, caused by it, lies not only in the disease itself, but also in the fact that the US, purposefully hinder the resistance [to the coronavirus],” the statement added.
"Millions of Iranian citizens were cut off from the possibility of purchasing necessary medical supplies, no matter how hard Washington tried to distort it. The anti-human policy of the US provokes deep regret, alarm and serious concern," it went on to say.
The Russian Foreign ministry urged Washington to lift the restrictive measures "hitting the human rights in Iran."
"The global pandemic is not a time for settling geopolitical accounts, especially those that have no basis, invented in Washington for the purpose of satisfying their own ambitions," it said.
China wants the US 'immoral' sanctions on Iran removed
China also said on Monday "immoral" sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran must be lifted as soon as possible, because they hamper the Islamic Republic's ability to fight an ongoing outbreak of new coronavirus, thus damaging ordinary people's lives.
Speaking at a regular press briefing in Beijing, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, said the United States should lift any sanctions imposed on Iran to ensure that the country receives timely humanitarian aid to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that it would be immoral to keep sanctions in force at a time when the fight against the virus in Iran "has entered a crucial stage."
"China urges involved countries to immediately lift the relevant sanctions against Iran to avoid further damage to the Iranian economy and people's lives," Geng said.
He noted that the removal of the sanctions will help preserve Iran's economic and social well-being during this critical period as the restrictions would get in the way of the United Nations and other organizations providing assistance to virus-hit Iran.
Pointing to China's close contact with Iran concerning the spread of the pandemic, the diplomat said, "Beijing will continue providing assistance to Tehran based on the needs of the Iranian side and its own capabilities, and we also call on the international community to cooperate with Iran to ensure public health security at a regional and global level."
He added that his country had already sent humanitarian medical supplies and experts to help Iran.
President Donald Trump reinstated US sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.
The US claims it does not get in the way of food and medicine exports to Iran, but the Islamic Republic says Washington has been creating problems for a Swiss humanitarian channel that is aimed at enabling the transfer of commodities.
In a letter sent to a number of world leaders on Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said unlike many countries infected with coronavirus, the Islamic Republic is faced with serious obstacles and restrictions emanating from two years of extensive and illegal sanctions, a maximum pressure campaign as well as systematic acts of sabotage by the US administration.
He noted that while the US administration did not stop exerting illegal pressure on Iran even after the coronavirus outbreak started, its secretary of state “brazenly” urged countries to send humanitarian aid to Tehran only if Washington's “unwise and inhumane” demands were met.
It is not possible for any country to handle the dangerous crisis by itself let alone a country that has numerous problems in having access to international financial markets and supplying its required commodities, the Iranian president stated.