UNITED NATIONS -- Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations says the United States’ illegal and unilateral sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic make a case for “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Addressing a virtual meeting on effects of “unilateral coercive measures on the people of the targeted countries” held at Iran’s request, Majid Takht Ravanchi denounced economic sanctions as “immoral and inhumane” which violate basic human rights.
The Islamic Republic, the envoy said, has been suffering from such measures for years on end, preventing the country from transacting and trading freely with international banks and financial institutions.
Washington refused to relax the bans even after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the envoy added.
Takht Ravanchi said Western countries allege that Iran has been “exempted” from some of the sanctions, but the exemptions are “just on paper”. The sanctions, he said, continue to “severely” affect the Iranians’ right to access necessary drugs and medical equipment.
“Consequently, the fatalities have risen among women, children, and innocent people,” the ambassador said, stating that the sanctions have affected the vulnerable class to a greater extent.
“Endangering others’ lives for political motivations is not only illegal, but also a war crime and a crime against humanity that has to be dealt with internationally,” Takht Ravanchi said.
The ambassador said, “We bear a moral responsibility to stand up to the sanctions, and call for their immediate removal.”
Iran’s foreign minister said Friday he reminded his British counterpart during a phone conversation that the United States must stop trying to use its illegal economic war against Iran as “leverage” in the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“Agreed in phone call with FM @DominicRaab on need to resume full compliance with the JCPOA,” Zarif tweeted.
Zarif said that he “underlined that U.S. must return fully to its obligations & cease trying to use unlawful economic war against Iran as negotiating ‘leverage’.”
Iran and the remaining parties to the deal officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed last week to pause the Vienna talks for the fifth time and return to their capitals for further consultations.
The negotiations, which began early in April, have not led to a final conclusion on how to restore the JCPOA and remove sanctions on Iran.
Iran insists that all the sanctions imposed since the JCPOA went into effect in 2015 must be removed. The U.S., however, regards certain sanctions as consistent with the deal, making the prospects of reaching an agreement uncertain.
American news website Politico reported on Friday that the negotiators have produced at least 20 pages of text with various options on how to solve the remaining hurdles, noting that the removal of sanctions was among long-running points of contention.
“The U.S. and Iran still can’t agree on which ones the U.S. will repeal,” Politico said, adding, “Iran wants guarantees the U.S. won’t abandon the deal – again.”
The JCPOA was ditched by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018. In quitting, he targeted Iran’s economy with the “worst sanctions ever”.