News ID: 277976
Published: 0134 GMT December 11, 2020

US intentionally raising humanitarian trade costs with Iran: CBI

US intentionally raising humanitarian trade costs with Iran: CBI

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati said the United States keeps hampering Iran’s efforts to access vaccines needed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in the country, and Washington is dishonest in its claims that banks would not face punishments if they process payments related to humanitarian trade with Iran.

“The US pretends that food and medicine are not subject to sanctions but in practice (it) is stonewalling (the payments),” Hemmati was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency on Thursday.

The comments came two days after the US Treasury said in a statement that it maintains broad exceptions from its regime of sanctions on Iran that allows the commercial sale and export of humanitarian goods to the country. 

The statement came following reports showing that US sanctions were impeding Iran’s ability to place orders for coronavirus vaccines as the country seeks to contain one of the harshest outbreaks of the disease in the Middle East region.

Hemmati said a Washington decision earlier this year to impose sanctions on 18 Iranian banks and financial institutions had effectively blocked channels available to Iran to carry out transactions related to humanitarian trade.

“(They) have raised the costs of transactions significantly, and this is a part of their maximum pressure policy,” said the CBI governor.

Iranian authorities say they have allocated ample financial resources to get nearly 42 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from abroad to immunize people most at risk of the infection. The country has a comprehensive program to meet the rest of its demand for vaccines through domestic manufacturing.

Health Ministry officials have stated in recent days that Iran is facing problems to pay in advance for more than 16 million doses of a vaccine currently being developed under the auspices of the World Health Organization.

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