According to the Intercept’s report released on Friday, despite a massive coronavirus-related public health crisis, an anti-Iran pressure group with close ties to the Trump administration is urging major pharmaceutical companies to “end their Iran business,” focusing on companies with special licenses — most often under a broadly defined “humanitarian exemption” — to conduct trade with Iran.
Zarif in his tweet reacted sharply to the move.
“Donald Trump is maliciously tightening U.S. illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it,” Zarif tweeted.
The foreign minister added, “The world can no longer be silent as U.S. Economic Terrorism is supplanted by its Medical Terrorism.”
Following the virus outbreak, the Iranian authorities ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural events in a bid to contain the disease.
According to the Health Ministry’s official data on Saturday showed a total of 5,823 Iranian nationals have been infected by the virus that 145 have lost their lives.
In early February, First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri said that the United States was lying when it claims that pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and foodstuff were not subject to its sanctions list on Iran.
The Trump administration is lying when it claims that it has not blocked ways of procuring medicine and foodstuff by Iran, the vice president added.
“We have billions of dollars in different countries, including South Korea and Japan, but, the U.S. prevents us from utilizing our own money to procure medicine and foodstuff for the country,” Jahangiri said on the sidelines of a ceremony in Tehran at the time.
Jahangiri went on to say that the U.S. has formed the “most powerful and the largest monitoring organization” worldwide to make sure that its sanctions against Iran are perfectly fulfilled.
Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 and restored the previous sanctions against Iran and ordered new ones.
Trump himself has called sanctions against Iran “economic war”.
Under his declared “maximum pressure” campaign, Trump has introduced the harshest ever sanctions in history against Iran.
Iran says sanctions on its central bank will prevent it from providing medicine to its citizens.
Foreign Minister Zarif said in late 2019 that the United States’ sanctions and economic war on Iran targeted ordinary people’s health and livelihood.
“There was a time when such warfare was used to simply limit the activities of some countries. However, new warfare of the United States and what Trump has called the ‘economic war’ have targeted the ordinary people’s livelihood and health,” the chief diplomat lamented.
In early January, Minister of Health Saeed Namaki strongly criticized the U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying the sanctions made it virtually impossible for Iran to import medicine and medical equipment.
Namaki made the remarks in a letter to the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).
He said the Iranian people fell victim to an economic war waged against them by the United States.
He stated that while the U.S. government claims that the sanctions do not include medicine, foodstuff, and medical equipment, it has blocked almost all of Iran’s financial transactions.