Iran calls on Europe to defy US sanctions amid COVID-19 outbreak

Iran’s foreign minister has called on London and the European Union to defy Washington’s anti-Iran sanctions amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In a Monday phone conversation with his British counterpart Dominic Raab, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the US’ illegal and unilateral sanctions against Iran as an obstacle to the battle with the global pandemic.

He called on the UK to defy the US’ cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation under such circumstances, both on the basis of London’s commitments under the JCPOA and for human considerations.

He also praised the European Union and the three EU parties to the JCPOA – the UK, France and Germany – for sending aid to Iran for the fight against coronavirus.

The phone conversation came shortly after the Iranian ambassador to the UK announced Britain has agreed to pay an outstanding £400 million debt it owes to Iran plus the interest.

“The legal process of this long-running case, which has been going on for more than 50 years, is nearing its end,” Hamid Baeidinejad said in an interview with Iranian newspaper Etemad.

“The court has ordered the British government to pay the Iranian debt plus interest, and this cannot be changed. At the same time, the opposing lawyers have tried to use every legal opportunity to delay the practical execution of the court’s decision,” Baeidinejad added.

‘ EU must not abide by US sanctions’

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Zarif also raised the issue of US sanctions in a separate phone conversation with the foreign minister of Croatia, the rotating president of the European Union.

In his phone talk with his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić-Radman, Zarif emphasized that the EU must not abide by the US unilateral and unlawful sanctions.

He said the EU should do this not only as a JCPOA obligation, but also to prevent the deaths of innocent Iranians due to the cruel US sanctions.

The Croatian foreign minister, in turn, expressed solidarity with the Iranian government and nation in their fight against the epidemic, and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Hit by the US’ sanctions, Iran has been trying to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus which so far has infected some 14,000 people and killed 853 until Monday.

The virus has infected more than 150,000 people worldwide and killed more than 5,800. More than 70,000 people worldwide have recovered after being infected.

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