Zarif to US: Your policy will live in infamy but Iran won't break
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has once again raised the alarm about the impact of US sanctions on the Islamic Republic's efforts to contain the new coronavirus, asserting that Iran "won't break."
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In a note posted on his Twitter account on Friday, Zarif said the administration of President Donald Trump gleefully takes pride in killing Iranian citizens on the Iranian New Year, also known as Nowruz.
Zarif made the comments after Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iranian Affairs, told reporters that Washington would continue its so-called maximum pressure campaign against Tehran despite the Covid-19 outbreak, saying, "US sanctions are not preventing aid from getting to Iran."
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 International Court of Justice (ICJ) — known as the World Court — has ordered the White House to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.
The US claims the bans do not get in the way of food and medicine exports to Iran, but the Islamic Republic says Washington has been working to make problems for a Swiss humanitarian channel launched to enable the transfer of commodities to Iran.
The new coronavirus first emerged in China’s Hubei Province late December and then reached other countries, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the disease as a pandemic.
Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi said on Friday that the total number of infections had reached 19,644 in the country.
“With 149 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus has reached 1,433. Unfortunately, we had 1,237 new cases since yesterday,” Raeisi said on state TV.
He also put the number of those who have recovered from the infection so far at 6,745.
In a statement on Thursday, the permanent mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations said the international community should push the United States to immediately lift all "illegal" sanctions it has imposed on the Islamic Republic amid a national endeavor to contain the novel coronavirus.
"The inhumane and illegal US sanctions will jeopardize the health and lives of Iranians and other nations through impeding our capabilities to prevent further spread of the coronavirus to other countries," it said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan said on Friday that the United States should lift its "unjust" sanctions on Iran to help the neighboring country better deal with the health crisis.
"I would stress and insist to the international community to lift the sanctions on Iran," Khan said at a press conference.
"It is very unjust they are dealing with such a large outbreak on one side, and on the other they are facing international sanctions," he added.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Khan called for the lifting of sanctions against Iran, the worst-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East, saying it was time to end the bans.
He said Iran was a “classic example” of a place where the humanitarian imperative to contain the outbreak outweighs political rivalries or economic dogmas.