Oil Minister Holds US Accountable for COVID-19 Deaths in Iran

Oil Minister Holds US Accountable for COVID-19 Deaths in Iran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh lashed out at the US government for blocking Iran’s access to the financial resources that are necessary for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The US’ sanctions and depriving Iran of (its) hydrocarbon revenues has caused the country to face problems in handling the new coronavirus (pandemic),” Zanganeh said on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s 22nd ministerial meeting on Thursday.

“Therefore, I believe that the US administration is responsible for the deaths of (over) 400 Iranian people every day due to the coronavirus’ pandemic,” he said in the meeting, held via videoconference.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zanganeh denounced the US’ departure from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal’s official name, and Washington’s restoration of the sanctions as nothing but acts of “bullying against Iran and the world.”

At a time when international markets have already been battered by the viral outbreak, Washington has compounded matters by preventing Iran from using its assets and revenues to facilitate its people’s lives, especially in the humanitarian and medical areas, the minister said, Press TV reported.

The Iranian official reminded how the US has acted in a similar unilateral manner by leaving the Paris climate deal, imposing tariffs on Chinese imports, which has led to a Sino-American trade war, and unprecedentedly damaging its transatlantic ties with Europe.

However, the key to realization of a peaceful world, where energy products such as gas enjoy sustainable and mutually beneficial production levels, “lies in expansion of international cooperation, attention towards multilateralism, and refrain from one-upmanship,” Zanganeh concluded.

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