An Iranian official has called US President Donald Trump “more dangerous than coronavirus” saying moves to block vital medical supplies to fight coronavirus from reaching Iran was tantamount to crimes against humanity.
Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, accused the American government of opposing efforts by the International Monetary Fund to assist Iran during the pandemic.
“The sanction on health items is an illegal and inhumane act and a symbol of Trump’s open hostility to the Iranian people,” Shamkhani wrote in a tweet on Sunday.
“The US opposition to granting facilities to Iran by the International Monetary Fund to meet the required medical items to fight against the coronavirus is a real example of crimes against humanity.”
The sanction of health items is an illegal & inhumane act & a symbol of #Trump's open hostility to the Iranian people.
US opposition to granting #Iran's requested facilities from @IMF to provide items needed to deal with #CoronaVirus is a real case of crimes against humanity.
— علی شمخانی (@alishamkhani_ir) April 5, 2020
“Trump is more dangerous than coronavirus,” Shamkhani added.
Iran will never ask the United States for help in the fight against the new coronavirus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected offers from Washington for humanitarian assistance for Iran – the Middle Eastern country so far worst-affected by the coronavirus with 3,739 deaths and 60,500 people infected according to the latest figures.
“Iran has never asked and will not ask America to help Tehran in its fight against the outbreak… But America should lift all its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran,” Mousavi said in a televised news conference.
Trump on Friday said he would have a “moral responsibility” to help Iran in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic if leaders of the country asked for assistance.
“Well they haven’t even asked us to do that,” said Trump when asked if the United States would consider easing sanctions on Iran in light of the global outbreak.
“If they want to meet, we’d love to meet and we’d settle the whole thing out,” he added.
Since 2018, the Trump administration has imposed a policy of “maximum pressure” sanctions against Tehran after Washington withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.
Under the deal – reached between Iran, the US, the European Union, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany in 2015 – Tehran promised to curtail its nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.
Over the last month, as the virus spread rapidly in Iran, the US repeatedly tightened sanctions designed to choke off Tehran’s crucial oil exports.
On March 26, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on 20 Iranian people and companies accused of supporting a Shia militia in Iraq, which is believed to be responsible for attacks on bases where US forces are located.
Iranian authorities have urged other countries and the United Nations to call on the United States to lift crippling sanctions.
“They [the US] are trying to force Tehran to accept negotiations with America,” Mousavi said.
He welcomed the launch of a European barter system to bypass US sanctions as a “good omen” but said it was insufficient in light of the Europeans’ commitments.
Britain, France and Germany said last week they had carried out the first transaction through the Instex mechanism to deliver medical supplies to Iran.
Mousavi said the transaction had involved “a few hundred thousand euros (dollars)”.
“What the Islamic Republic of Iran expects [from now on] is for the Europeans to fulfill the rest of their commitments in various fields [such as] banking, energy, insurance,” he added.