EU foreign ministers called for the activation of humanitarian exemptions in order to suspend unilateral sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba to empower them against the Coronavirus.

Iran PressEurope: In the wake of the US refusal from lifting sanctions on such countries as Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela, the EU supported the exemption of humanitarian aid on Friday to help the countries access to medical supplies in fight against the Coronavirus. 

Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González confirmed the EU measure in a press conference and asserted all economic sanctions always contain a clause on the humanitarian exemption, according to which sanctions can be suspended in a state of emergency, such as the current situation with Corona. 

As the Coronavirus spreads around the world, EU ministers have backed the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call for the use of a humanitarian exemption mechanism to deliver medical equipment to sanctioned countries.

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“We need to ensure that this clause (humanitarian exemptions) can be invoked and that the countries and companies producing medical equipment and disinfectants can use this clause and everyone can have the tools to fight the widespread disease,” González said. 

The Spanish foreign minister also stressed the importance of Europe's support for highly vulnerable countries, especially in Africa and Latin America, in particular Venezuela and its neighbors, which have received large numbers of asylum seekers.

Despite pressure from the international community on the US to lift unilateral sanctions against Iran and other countries, including Venezuela, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Washington has not only refused to lift its sanctions but in some cases has increased its sanctions against Iran.

The European Union (EU) has stated that sanctions should not be used to hinder the fight against the Coronavirus, saying that sanctions could easily be lifted if it damages the ability of countries under sanctions to deal with corona. 101/207

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