0928 GMT October 20, 2020
In an interview with Russia Today, Iran’s top diplomat accused the United States of impeding his country’s ability to fight the coronavirus, explaining that US sanctions have prevented the purchase of critical medical supplies.
Washington’s efforts to stop Tehran from exporting oil have limited the government’s ability to respond to the global health crisis and provide relief to the Iranian people, Zarif said.
The top diplomat noted that Iran also has “quite a bit of money stashed in countries abroad,” but that the US has prevented Tehran from gaining access to these funds, even to buy medicine.
Zarif lamented that, due to US sanctions, Iran could not use its “own money” to ensure access to the coronavirus vaccines under development. Iran cannot even purchase doses of influenza vaccine, the foreign minister said.
Whatever the Americans are saying about their sanctions not affecting humanitarian items, it’s just a lie... It’s basically medical terrorism.
When asked about Washington’s attempt to unilaterally impose “snapback” sanctions on Iran, Zarif acknowledged that the US government has “financial might,” but highlighted that UN Security Council members overwhelmingly opposed the move.
According to Zarif, countries around the world are increasingly abandoning the US dollar to protect themselves against Washington’s economic dictates.
He pointed out that even Washington’s European allies have stated that they will not abandon their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The agreement was signed by China, France, Russia, Germany, Iran, the UK and the US in 2015, but Washington unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed illegal sanctions on Iran.
On September 20, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced "the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran" under the so-called snapback mechanism of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Pompeo threatened UN member states with "consequences" if they refused to implement the sanctions.
Pompeo formally notified the United Nations on August 20 of Washington’s demand for all the UN Security Council sanctions on Iran to be restored under the so-called snapback mechanism, citing what he claimed to be Iranian violations of the nuclear deal.
The United States has been trying to trigger the "snapback" mechanism in the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers despite its withdrawal from the accord, which was by itself in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorses the JCPOA.
Since its much-criticized exit, Washington has been attempting to prevent the remaining signatories from abiding by their commitments and thus kill the historic agreement, which is widely viewed as a fruit of international diplomacy.
The United States’ most prominent Western allies have so far refused to vote for the US push to invoke the snapback mechanism. Washington suffered a humiliating defeat in securing an extension of the UN arms embargo against Iran at the UNSC last month.
The president of the Security Council on August 25 dismissed attempts by the US to reinstate all UN sanctions against Iran, citing a lack of consensus in the 15-member body.