EghtesadOnline: Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York has released a message to member countries, describing how the continued application of sanctions during the new coronavirus pandemic is undermining the world's ability to control the outbreak and is therefore a "treachery" against humanity.
"The continued application of sanctions … under the current unprecedented global health crisis involving all nations is against the common interests of humanity," it read, according to the text of the message published by IRNA.
According to Financial Tribune, the letter stressed the need for all nations to stand united and demonstrate "solidarity in action" throughout what is described as a "World War Against COVID-19" (coronavirus disease), as all of humanity is on the same front in this common fight.
"No nation will be spared and no one will be safe until everyone all over the world is safe."
Therefore, it added, any act whatsoever restricting the ability of a nation to tackle the crisis would let the disease spread like wildfire and consequently weaken the global fight against the pandemic.
Sanctions, according to the letter, undermine humankind's front from within in favor of the viral enemy and function like the "fifth column".
"It is nothing but a treachery," it said.
Iran is among the victims of sanctions imposed unilaterally by the United States after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018.
While the country is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, the US sanctions—which, according to the American officials are the most extensive sanctions ever imposed on a country—are drastically hindering its efforts to identify and treat patients and effectively prevent the spread of the virus, the letter said.
Although American officials continue to claim that humanitarian and medical needs are exempt from sanctions, the trade of such goods has become almost impossible because the US sanctions regime, including its related penalties, is extremely broad and has created "a compliance minefield for any legal trade with Iran".
In late February, the US Treasury finalized the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement to allow certain humanitarian transactions with Iran.
"However, this narrow channel does not match Iran’s humanitarian needs in the current situation," the UN mission said.
Besides, it explained, SHTA pursues such a tight and tough procedure that makes it practically very difficult for companies to trade with Iran.
The channel is also unable to function properly due to the almost impossible or cumbersome nature of transferring Iranian reserves blocked outside the country to the designated Swiss bank. It might even become redundant in a matter of few months, according to the letter.
“Several companies that supply the medical equipment required to fight the coronavirus have recently stopped shipping to Iran because of the insuperable obstacles created by American sanctions,” it added.
"Medical suppliers and relief organizations simply steer clear of doing business in Iran for fear of accidentally getting caught up in the US sanctions' web."
The US even imposed new sanctions on Iran during the outbreak, which according to the UN mission, is a warning to companies that they must avoid doing any business with Iran, even if their work is humanitarian in nature.
The letter also pointed out that for a vast country like Iran with a population of nearly 83 million, emergency aid is no panacea either, especially since donor countries themselves face their own crises.
Iran's mission to the UN also stressed that every country should be able to freely and fully use its resources to effectively suppress the pandemic, but that is impossible without the immediate removal of all sanctions on banking, insurance, transportation, medical, industry, energy, exports and imports.
It called on the international community not to allow the continued application of inhuman and unlawful sanctions in order to prevent the further deterioration of the situation.
"Under the current global pandemic, the urgent removal of all sanctions is in the interest of all humanity," the letter concluded.