In a Tuesday letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, the Iranian health minister asked the UN agency to take the necessary measures to put an end to the illegitimate and unilateral American sanctions that have inflicted pain on the people of Iran and other nations and have had negative consequences for the world health.
The time has come for an international call for the removal of the sanctions to protect the health of people, he added.
Highlighting Iran’s struggle against the coronavirus pandemic and the illegal sanctions simultaneously over the past seven months, Namaki said, “The legal and legitimate expectation in such an emergency is that the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and all international agencies make sure that medicine and humanitarian supplies are made available to people of Iran.”
After the unilateral and illegal withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the US administration has imposed widespread and cruel sanctions on the Iranian people, Namaki deplored.
In the meantime, blocking Iran’s access to the global banking channels has harmed the country’s economy and disrupted the trade of medicine and medical equipment amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, the minister added, stressing that the US must obey the International Court of Justice’s ruling which orders Washington to lift bans on the free export of medicine to Iran.
Washington claims that the sanctions won’t stop the supply of medicine and other humanitarian necessities, but banking sanctions are driving up import prices, blocking supply chains, and creating deadly drug shortages.
Today’s integrated and interconnected world depends on banking systems and trade networks that are dominated by the United States. Consequently, the US government is able to use economic sanctions to cause harm to economic, political, and even social relations in target countries with relative ease.
Although US sanctions are engineered in a way that may appear not to target humanitarian access to food and medicine, in practice US sanctions function as a tool of economic war.
The Iranian administration has repeatedly said it is engaged in a battle on two fronts at the same time, dealing with the cruel foreign sanctions and addressing the coronavirus and its economic consequences.
The coronavirus infections have been on the rise in Iran in recent days.
Iran's Health Ministry reported 2,302 new coronavirus cases from Monday to Tuesday, the highest daily infections in 11 days, bringing the total number of infections to 391,112.
Iran’s Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Tuesday that the death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 132 to 22,542.
She said that at least 337,414 patients have recovered from the coronavirus infection so far or have been discharged from hospitals across the country.
Among those undergoing treatment in medical centers at present, 3,713 patients have critical health conditions because of more severe infection, Lari noted.
She also noted that more than 3,431,646 coronavirus diagnostic tests have been carried out in Iran so far.
Since late February, Iran has been struggling to contain the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, the deadliest in West Asia.
IRNA and Tasnim News Agency contributed to this story.