US Responsible for Ramifications of Sanctions against Iran: Zarif

US Responsible for Ramifications of Sanctions against Iran: Zarif

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in his Nowruz massage on Wednesday that the United States is responsible for the "destructive ramifications" of its aggressive unilateral sanctions against Iran as the country is fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

"At a time when we, Iranians, normally celebrate Nowruz, our New Year concurrent with the arrival of spring, we are faced with multiple and historic challenges," Zarif said in a video released on YouTube on Wednesday.

"My country is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus," he said, adding that also, "Iran, today, is the most intensely sanctioned country in history, not in line with United Nations' decisions but contrary to them."

The Iranian foreign minister noted that the economic siege imposed by the United States on Iran impedes all the legitimate trade and deprives Iran of its own resources, the ones necessary to address the needs of Iranians, including their health and livelihoods.

"Even amid this pandemic, the US government has vengefully refused to lift its unlawful and collective punishment, making it virtually impossible for us to even buy medicine and medical equipment," he said.

He also criticized some other countries for their compliance with the US pressures against Iran.

"The bigger tragedy is that many companies and countries who officially opposed these sanctions have chosen to comply with them, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the future wrath of the United States despite President Trump time and again proving that this is just wishful thinking," he said.

Earlier in the day, Zarif called for international pressure on the United States to lift its sanctions against the country.

Zarif urged the US "illegal, inhuman and unilateral sanctions against Iran" should be removed as the country is struggling to stem novel coronavirus.

Zarif on Tuesday called for a global campaign to defy US anti-Iran sanctions.

"Unlawful US sanctions drained Iran's economic resources, impairing ability to fight COVID-19," Zarif said. "They literally kill innocents."

Iranian Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi said Wednesday that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached 17,361, and, unfortunately, 1,135 patients have lost their lives from the epidemic in the country.

Medical staffs in all 31 provinces of Iran have been working tirelessly over the past weeks to contain the novel coronavirus.

First detected in Wuhan city in central China in December, the coronavirus has spread to more than 140 countries.

More than 200,000 have been infected globally, according to the WHO. Of those, about 80,000 have recovered.

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