Addressing a webinar dubbed “US Sanctions During COVID-19 Pandemic, a Global Threat” on Saturday, Majid Takht-Ravanchi termed the US sanctions as the fifth column of the novel coronavirus, hampering the Islamic Republic’s battle against the pandemic.
Noting that all humans are on the same boat in the fight against the COVID-19 disease, Takht-Ravanchi said any hurdles in the way of a country to contain the virus will undermine the whole world’s efforts in this regard.
He called for the immediate lifting of all sanctions on Iran’s, and other countries' banking, insurance, transportation, medical, industrial and trade sections in a bid to pave the way for containing the pandemic.
Takht-Ravanchi then referred to the Swiss trade channel much publicized by Washington as a secure way of delivering humanitarian assistance to Iran at a time of sanctions, saying that the channel will not be enough to meet Iran’s needs.
His words came a few days after the US-based Daily Beast reported that Iranians have got almost nothing from the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Agreement (SHTA) since it was launched in January with the support and consent of the US.
The channel was meant to find a way around the US sanctions to use Iranian funds deposited abroad to buy food and medicine for the country via the Swiss bank BCP.
However, companies seeking to participate in the scheme have found it very difficult to comply with the criteria set by the US government to avoid violating the general rules governing the sanctions, said the report.