0123 GMT June 02, 2020
Undoubtedly, delivery of humanitarian aid by Iranian expatriates to their homeland in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak has been very valuable, conveying the message of solidarity in times of trouble, said the spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ready to receive aid through its representative missions across the world and transfer them to related centers and organizations in the country.
He also elaborated on delivery of humanitarian aid by other countries and international organizations to Iran and the legal and diplomatic measures taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to remove US unilateral sanctions, reimposed on the Islamic Republic following Washington’s withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and P5+1, amid the pandemic.
The coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province late last year and is currently affecting a large number of countries and territories across the globe. It has infected and killed people in a large number of the countries. According to Iran's Health Ministry, the virus has infected 82,211 in the country, killing 5,118, as reported by ISNA.
Full text of the interview follows:
IRAN DAILY: How do you assess the flow of humanitarian aid by Iranian expatriates into the country in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak?
SEYYED ABBAS MOUSAVI: Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, Iranian expats have rushed to the aid of their compatriots through different ways like what they have always done in other critical situations. They, in addition to providing their fellow countrymen with spiritual support, collected and sent to Iran large amounts of humanitarian aid in forms of financial assistance, hygiene products and drugs either directly or through international organizations and the country’s political offices in other states.
While respecting and appreciating the assistance by Iranian expatriates to help the Iranian government and people in their fight against the coronavirus, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as before, is ready to receive aid through its representative offices across the globe and transfer them to related centers and organizations in the country. No doubt, aid by our expatriate countrymen has been very valuable, conveying the message of solidarity among Iranians in times of trouble, under the present circumstances when the US has limited people’s access to health and treatment facilities through continuation of its cruel sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Has aid delivered by other countries and international organizations been satisfactory?
The Islamic Republic of Iran has mobilized all domestic resources to overcome the coronavirus crisis and is fighting the virus relying on the capabilities of the country’s physicians and medical staff, whose efforts and sacrifices are appreciated by the Iranian government and people. However, at the same time, we have announced our willingness to receive humanitarian aid sent by other countries and international organizations. Over 40 countries and international organizations have so far delivered their humanitarian aid to Iran.
Although the delivered aid from outside the country fails to be equal to the needs of the domestic health and treatment sector in the face of coronavirus, it has been relatively good. Other countries have so far provided Iran with some cash assistance and large amounts of drugs and medical equipment such as coronavirus test kits, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, different kinds of face masks and ICU equipment. In addition, some countries have expressed their readiness to carry international humanitarian aid to Iran free of charge.
It is, however, a common practice that countries provide each other with such assistance at a time of crisis and hardship and in natural disasters. Iran has also reached out to other countries in times of trouble. The mere provision of such assistance is, per se, an indication of international solidarity in the battle against the virus, which is a global threat, and, thus, is notable and worthy of appreciation. While the entire world is grappling with the horrible virus, there are many countries that need international humanitarian aid more than Iran does. Therefore, efforts have been made on an international scale to reach out to almost all countries in need of assistance in proportion to their needs. I hope Iran would soon turn into an aid provider.
What legal and diplomatic measures has the Islamic Republic taken to compel the US to remove its unilateral sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic?
Concurrent with the launch of a self-initiated campaign by some individuals and NGOs across the world calling for the removal of US cruel sanctions against people of Iran, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have employed measures on the international scene to enlighten the world on the embargoes and their negative impacts and garner greater global supports. They are constantly expanding such efforts. At present, the lifting of the sanctions has become a demand of the international public opinion.
Among the measures adopted by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are Mr. Zarif’s numerous negotiations with his foreign counterparts and heads of international organizations to expound on US cruel acts and moves against Iran and its imposition of inhuman sanctions on the country’s people amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also sent a letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres concerning the harmful impacts of Washington’s unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s ability to battle the virus, which has been published as documents No. A/74/747 of the UN General Assembly and No. S/2020/201 of the UN Security Council.
Other measures included sendingletters to President of the UN Economic and Social Council Mona Juul and Director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom by the permanent missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN Office in Vienna and the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva respectively, negotiations with other countries’ officials by the heads of Iranian representative offices aimed at removing international sanctions, and publishing contents in other states’ press and media to enlighten the world on US cruel moves and measures.
Also on the agenda of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been making the arrangements for sending the letter of the eight countries of Russia, China, Cuba, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea and Iran regarding the lifting of unilateral sanctions to Mr. Guterres, delivering a letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet concerning the removal of international sanctions and asking her to include the issue in her speech, incorporating the issue of US sanctions in the text of the statement by the Group of 77 and China – the main group of developing countries at the UN which now has 134 member states – on the necessity of international cooperation in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on sustainable development goals as well as the need for adoption of urgent and effective measures by the international community to eliminate the use of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries.
What measures have been taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate interactions between domestic organizations, for instance the Health Ministry and its affiliates, and their foreign counterparts?
As part of its responsibilities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with other related authorities, has immediately informed related domestic organizations, including the Health Ministry and the Iranian Red Crescent Society, about the humanitarian aid sent by the international community and the UN-affiliated agencies and has taken the required measures to deliver and clear the cargos.
In addition, the ministry sent correspondence between Health Ministry officials, including Health Minister Saeid Namaki and President of the Academy of Medical Sciencesof the Islamic Republic of Iran Alireza Marandi, and the UN chief about Iran’s fight against coronavirus while the country is under US unilateral sanctions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also sent Namaki’s messages to the WHO’s director general, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and the UN Population Fund. Moreover, the ministry has informed international organizations and other countries’ officials of the needs of Iran’s health and treatment sector and is following up their fulfillment.