Tehran Seeks UN Measure as COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 500

Zarif said it is imperative that the UN and its member states join the Iranian people in demanding that the US abandon its “malign” and “fruitless” approach against Iran, which has hindered its efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak
Tehran Seeks UN Measure as COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 500Tehran Seeks UN Measure as COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 500

Iran’s top diplomat has asked the United Nations to allocate resources to help Iran tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, as its death toll rose to 514 on Friday.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked the UN on Thursday to facilitate imports for Iran as a way of boosting the country’s sanctions-hit healthcare system, as its tally of coronavirus cases rose by 1,289 to 11,364 and its fatalities reached 514, up by 85 from the previous day.
In a letter addressed to US Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Zarif demanded that “the United States immediately halt its campaign of economic terrorism against the Iranian people and lift all sanctions it has illegally imposed on my country”.
The UN has confirmed that Iran’s shortage of medicine and medical equipment hinders its ability to halt the spread of the disease and it has asked member states to “facilitate and support Iran’s efforts in this critical moment”.
The US has imposed sweeping sanctions against Iran since 2018 when it exited the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 
While Washington contends that sanctions do not include medicine and food, according to Zarif, “Myriad US shipping, insurance, financial and banking sanctions make such trade nonviable.”
“It is imperative that the United Nations and its member states join the Iranian people in demanding that the government of the United States abandon its malign and fruitless approach against Iran,” he added.
The foreign minister also announced on Twitter that Iran’s central bank has asked the International Monetary Fund for emergency funding because of the coronavirus pandemic. The request came after the fund said it has made available $50 billion to low-income countries for the fight against the COVID-19.
Zarif tweeted, “IMF/IMF board should adhere to Fund’s mandate, stand on the right side of history & act responsibly.” 
The US, which has the power to veto IMF’s decisions and block assistance, has exerted a “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran for the past two years, raising doubts about its response to Iran’s request.
Iran has received aid from China, the World Health Organization, France, Britain, Russia and Germany after the virus swept across all 31 of the country’s provinces.
The latest humanitarian package came from Japan which donated $23.5 million in medical supplies to help Iran contain the contagion.
China, Italy and Iran are the most affected countries, as the deadly virus has killed over 5,000 people worldwide.



Domestic Measures

Iran is to “empty” its streets, stores and roads starting on Saturday, according to Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohammad Baqeri. 
The decision was made by the armed forces and Iran’s coronavirus taskforce to slow the spread of the outbreak.
Baqeri said, “All Iranians will be screened in the next 10 days via online methods, telephone or if absolutely necessary a visit to detect suspected cases.”
Iran’s Armed Forces will make available up to 1,000 hospitals and clinics to conduct the medical examination of suspected patients to provide the infected with medicine and protective gear, or hospitalize them.
Iran has been regularly disinfecting public places since the outbreak began. All schools and universities remain closed and social events have been canceled.
Five provinces in the less-hit parts of Iran did not report any new cases on Friday.

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