Iran has called for global solidarity against the ccoronavirus pandemic, but said that unilateral sanctions are “inhumane” and causing “unnecessary suffering and pain” for its population.
“The US must be held to account for its intensifying unilateral sanctions against Iran and other affected nations,” Saeed Namaki, Iran’s health minster, said in an address to the WHO’s annual assembly being held online.
Alex Azar, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, addressed the two-day forum but did not respond to Iran’s allegations.
Iran has been hit by the pandemic harder than any other country in the Middle East, with more than 120,000 cases of Covid-19 and at least 7,000 related deaths.
Iran has also made repeated calls on the international community to reject US sanctions, which it says are impeding Iran’s fight against the virus.
According to Human Rights Watch, the unilateral US sanctions have devastated Iran’s flagging healthcare system, hindering the ability for ordinary Iranians to access health services.
Sanctions have also more broadly impacted regular Iranians, causing private businesses to close down and forcing the value of Iran’s currency, the rial, to plummet.
The US began reinstating a series of crippling sanctions on various Iranian industries and individuals after it abandoned the multilateral Iran nuclear deal – known formally as the JCPOA – in May 2018