China Urges Int’l Community to Help Iran Fight Viral Outbreak

China Urges Int’l Community to Help Iran Fight Viral Outbreak China Urges Int’l Community to Help Iran Fight Viral Outbreak

China has urged the international community to cooperate with Iran in the fight against the new coronavirus outbreak while the country is under severe sanctions imposed by the United States.
"We … call on the international community to cooperate with Iran to ensure public health security at a regional and global level," China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing on Monday, IRNA reported.
He also called on the US to lift any previous sanctions to ensure the country receives timely humanitarian reliefs from the United Nations or other organizations as it suffers from the pandemic.
Washington imposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran in 2018 after it unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal Iran signed with six major world powers, which saw the removal of global restrictions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.   
According to Geng, keeping sanctions in force at a time when the fight against the virus in Iran has entered a crucial stage would be “inhuman”.
"China urges countries involved to immediately lift the relevant sanctions against Iran to avoid further damage to the Iranian economy and people's lives," he said, adding that Beijing will continue providing assistance to Tehran based on the needs of the Iranian side and its own capabilities.
China has already sent several shipments of medicine and medical supplies, including testing kits, masks, gowns and oxygen machines, as well as teams of medics to Iran.
Iran is the second worst-affected country outside China, with confirmed coronavirus cases nearing 15,000 and its death toll exceeding 850.



Xi’s Message

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.
Xi said he thanked the Iranian government and people for their support and assistance during China's fight against the epidemic, adding that China is lending Iran a helping hand, according to CGTN.
President Hassan Rouhani sent letters to several world leaders on Saturday, informing them how Iran’s fight against the coronavirus was being “severely hampered” by US sanctions and urging them to cease observing them.
In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif commented that "it is IMMORAL to let a bully kill innocents".
In separate letters to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his foreign counterparts, Zarif called for ignoring American sanctions during the pandemic.
He highlighted in the letters that although Iran's medical facilities and personnel are among the finest in the world, the country’s efforts to identify and treat its patients and combat the spread of the virus are stymied by “the economic terrorism" perpetrated by the US government.
The letters also explained that secondary sanctions make it virtually impossible for Iranians and other Iran-based individuals and entities to import medicine and medical equipment.
"Even if foreign suppliers are found and the required items can be purchased with our assets abroad, myriad US shipping, insurance, financial and banking sanctions make such trade nonviable," Zarif said.

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