Iran’s efforts to contain coronavirus severely obstructed due to ‘illegal US sanctions’: Foreign Minister Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Javed Zarif highlighted how the US sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to import medicines and medical equipment along with leaving thousands of Iranians stranded abroad. (File)

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the "indiscriminate campaign of economic terrorism"(referring to the US sanctions on Iran) imposed by the United States is undermining the country's efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a March 12 letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Zarif urged the United Nations to disregard the US sanctions and wanted them to be lifted. "Beyond targeting our lawful trade with others, the illegal US sanctions regime has impacted every sector of our economy," he wrote. He expressed the urgency of the matter due to the rapid outbreak of coronavirus in his country which is "among the worst impacted so far" he said.

Zarif tweeted a copy of the letter on Saturday.

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"While the virus ravages our cities and towns, our population-unlike those of other countries affected-suffer under the most severe and indiscriminate campaign of economic terrorism in history, imposed illegally and extra-territorially by the Government of the United States" he further wrote in the letter.

He further highlighted how the US sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to import medicines and medical equipment along with leaving thousands of Iranians stranded abroad. "Beyond targeting the livelihoods, access to healthcare and medicine as well as travel of the Iranian people, illegal US secondary sanctions even rob many of our citizens from accessing information from their own Government about how to deal with Covid-19" he added.

Iran is the worst affected country in the Middle East from the coronavirus. The outbreak in the country has killed 429 people and infected 10,075 until now.