The Strategist

Iran demands to lift US sanctions because of medical reasons

03/18/2020 - 08:35

The coronavirus epidemic in Iran, which is becoming increasingly rampant, has forced Tehran to launch a diplomatic counteroffensive. The goal is to get rid of unilateral US sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The country’s government appealed to the UN Secretary General and world leaders, urging them to intensify their efforts to abolish Washington's punitive measures that prevent an effective fight against the disease.

Mahmoud Hosseini
Mahmoud Hosseini
On the eve of the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, celebrated on March 20, the country's authorities announced new restrictive measures designed to prevent the spread of the epidemic during the upcoming two-week vacation. According to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, there is no question of a complete ban on trips around the country, however, “from Tuesday, medical monitoring of the population will be carried out at the entrances to various provinces on the highway”.

A month after February 19, the Ministry of Health of the Islamic Republic reported the first cases of coronavirus infection. Iran is on the top list of countries affected by the epidemic to the greatest extent. In the last 24 hours alone, another 135 people died from coronavirus, after which the total number of victims approached 1 thousand, and the number of infected exceeded 16 thousand. Among the victims of the epidemic in recent days were General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Nasser Shabani.

The critical situation in the country forced its leadership to take an unprecedented step - to appeal to the UN leadership and world leaders with a call to assist in lifting US sanctions that deprive Iran of the ability to effectively fight the epidemic.

President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif sent appeals to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and heads of the leading states of the world, in which the theme of combating coronavirus is linked to sanctions by the United States. "In less than two years, US sanctions directly damaged the Iranian economy by about $ 200 billion," said President Rouhani, pointing to "the need to lift sanctions in connection with the current situation in the world."

Tehran’s argumentation is described in more detail in a letter from Javad Zarif to the UN Secretary General. The letter is extremely harsh in relation to the United States, to which Tehran has the primary responsibility for the growing number of victims of the pandemic. “Although the medical equipment, doctors, nurses, paramedics and other employees of our healthcare system are among the best in the world, our efforts to identify and treat patients and fight against coronavirus are faced with an obstacle in the form of economic terrorism of the United States,” Iranian Foreign Minister admits.

According to Javad Zarif, “the US government is pursuing a policy of mass punishment of the Iranian people, including through restrictions on the purchase of humanitarian goods.” “Such actions not only run counter to UN Security Council resolution 2231, but also violate fundamental international humanitarian laws, which are considered a crime against humanity,” the Iranian minister summarizes.