“We expect Switzerland to play a more effective role in these sensitive circumstances that the US has intensified its unlawful and inhumane sanctions against Iran,” Rouhani told his Swiss counterpart Simonetta Sommaruga during a phone call on Tuesday, according to Press TV.
The US returned the sanctions after leaving a historic nuclear accord between the Islamic Republic and world powers in 2018. The measures defied the agreement’s multilateral nature and the fact that it has been ratified by the United Nations Security Council in the form of a resolution.
Washington then began forcing others to toe its sanctions’ line. Britain, France, and Germany have stopped their transactions with the Islamic Republic, bowing to the pressure.
On October 3, 2018, The Hague-based International Court of Justice, the UN’s principal judicial organ, issued a ruling that ordered the US to halt its unilateral sanctions on humanitarian supplies to Iran. The verdict was a response to a lawsuit that had been lodged by Iran in July that year.
In late January, the United States and Switzerland announced the launch of a channel -- the «Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement» (SHTA) -- to ship food and medicine to the Islamic Republic from the alpine country.
The US claims that humanitarian supplies, including foodstuffs and medicinal items, are exempt from anti-Iran sanctions, but the bans have deterred several foreign banks from doing any business with Tehran.
Tehran strongly spurns Washington’s claim as a “brazen” lie, saying the latter comes in the way of the channel’s normal operation, calling the conduit “insufficient.”
Rouhani welcomed Switzerland’s contribution to the creation of the financial mechanism, but hoped that the country will do more to enhance its efficiency.
“Under today’s tough and sensitive circumstances, when all countries are faced with the coronavirus outbreak, the US’s unlawful sanctions and intensification of economic pressure have compounded the [overall] situation facing the Iranian people,” Rouhani said.
He, therefore, urged that the conduit be enabled to host more financial activity, including transfer of Iran’s financial resources overseas.
The Iranian president said Switzerland could also help strengthen the nuclear agreement, underlining the importance of its continued existence as an international accord. He said the European Union — including deal partners the UK, France, and Germany — had to uphold their share of the accord, and thus restore balance to bilateral commitment to the deal.
‘Swiss channel can help IMF loan flow’
The Swiss president, for her part, congratulated the Iranian people on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, and said her country would keep up its efforts aimed at promoting the financial channel.
The Swiss channel can help Iran avail itself of a $5 billion loan that it has requested from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help Tehran fight the viral outbreak, she noted. Washington has — in line with its changeless anti-Tehran policy and maximum pressure campaign — opposed dispensation of the sum by the world body.
She voiced regret in Washington’s departure from the nuclear accord — that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — underscoring the need for the deal’s preservation.
“We will do our utmost to save the JCPOA, and will encourage the other European sides too to try to preserve the deal and act on their obligations,” Sommaruga noted.
The two presidents, meanwhile, expressed their respective countries’ readiness to deepen their bilateral ties, with Rouhani noting, “The Swiss nation has always enjoyed the status of a respectable people in the eyes of the Iranian nation.”