US sanctions have reached point of crime against humanity: Envoy
Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi said that the United States, by continuing and intensifying its illegal sanctions under the situation of the Corona Crisis, has crossed the red lines of economic terrorism and medical terrorism and reached the border of crimes against humanity.
Majid Takht-Ravanchi added, "While the world is struggling with the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic and countries are working to strengthen cooperation and solidarity in this critical situation, the United States has expanded and intensified its unilateral and illegal action against countries that are largely plagued by the virus."
The Iranian ambassador added that “It is the right of all countries to have access to medicine, equipment, and supplies needed to prevent the coronavirus spread but the unilateral action by the United States has created a serious obstacle to its realization.”
Lashing out at the US’ restrictive measures, Takht-Ravanchi said: “Washington has made groundless claims that the sanctions do not include food, medicine, and medical equipment but [the fact of the matter is that] depriving a country of access to international trade and the global banking system will curb its entire abilities to access medicine, food, and medical equipment through financial and trade mechanisms.”
The Tuesday meeting was initiated by the permanent missions of Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Belarus, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe to the United Nations.
US President Donald Trump reimposed its unilateral sanctions against Iran after leaving a multilateral and historic nuclear accord between Iran and major world powers, including Russia, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018.
Under the deal, the US administration had lifted its anti-Iran sanctions in return for the Islamic Republic making changes in its peaceful nuclear program.
Iran has sued the US at the International Court of Justice after the latter reinstated the sanctions, with the tribunal ruling that Washington has to lift the bans on Iran-headed humanitarian supplies.
Washington alleges that it has exempted foodstuff and medicine from the bans. Tehran roundly rejects the claim.
Iran has now stepped up the production of its own medical equipment, such as producing ventilators needed for COVID-19 patients.
In March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the leaders of the G-20 economic powers to roll back international sanction regimes around the world, including the ones against Iran, amid the pandemic.
The novel virus can cause a potentially deadly infection called COVID-19. Since emerging in central China late last year, the virus has claimed more than 382,000 people worldwide, including some 8,000 in Iran.