December 10, 2023

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Zarif: Significant progress made in coronavirus fight despite sanctions

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has made significant progress in fighting the coronavirus outbreak in spite of the United States’ sanctions.

“Despite US sanctions, Iran has made significant progress in fighting the pandemic, thanks to its human & scientific resources, and friends abroad,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday night.

“#Covid19 was opportunity for US to kick its addiction to sanctions. Instead, it will now live in infamy in the memory of our people,” he added.

Last week, Zarif ruled out what he called charity from U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Iran is rich in human & natural resources. We don’t need charity from @realDonaldTrump —who’s forced to buy ventilators from sources he’s sanctioned,” he said via Twitter.

Zarif, however, emphasized that “What we want is for him to STOP preventing Iran from selling oil & other products, buying its needs & making & receiving payments.”

Iran was initially among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But Western countries soon overtook Iran due to the virus’s exponential growth in the West, as opposed to its linear growth in Iran.

However, The United States’ illegal sanctions – which were put in place after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal – have been described as one of the greatest obstacles impeding Iran’s full containment of the deadly disease.

In line with his “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran, Trump has introduced a total ban on Iran’s oil export, the country’s main source of income. The oil embargo was intended to choke off the Iranian economy.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that despite sanctions Iran has handled the coronavirus pandemic better than certain European countries and the United States.

“We had a sanctions virus, to which the coronavirus was added, but you did not have the sanctions virus. You have one virus while we have two viruses,” Rouhani said, according to Press TV.

In the struggle to contain the deadly disease, the Iranian people have also resisted well and assisted each other, the president remarked. 

“This is an honor for all, for all our loved ones and people. Yes, our situation is relatively good in the fight against the disease and the dangerous virus, and our situation is better in comparison with some countries.”

Also on Sunday, Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations said in a message that in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, sanctions function as enemy’s “fifth column”.

“In our common fight against COVID-19, sanctions, by undermining our front from within in favor of the enemy, function exactly like the ‘fifth column’. It is but a treachery,” the message read.

The U.S. sanctions are drastically hindering Iran’s efforts to identify and treat patients and effectively prevent the spread of the virus, it said.

“This is despite the fact that Iran’s medical facilities, doctors and nurses are among the very finest in the world, and the professional nature of its national efforts to suppress COVID-19 is highly acknowledged by the WHO,” the statement added.

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