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14 March 2020 - 16:17
News ID: 449587
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Analyst:
US sanctions imposed on Iran are an “act of war” as they hamper Tehran's efforts to counter the new coronavirus pandemic, says an American writer and former university professor.

RNA - E. Michael Jones, the editor of Culture Wars magazine, told Press TV’s The Debate program Thursday that the US Treasury Department, which is responsible for implementing restrictive measures against Tehran, is a “hotbed of Zionism.”

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory disease that emerged in China last December and has spread around the world, halting industries, bringing travel to a standstill, closing schools, and forcing the cancellation of public events.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared COVID-19 a pandemic, pointing to over 118,000 cases of the coronavirus illness in over 110 countries and territories around the world and the sustained risk of further global spread.

Iran, badly hit by the coronavirus, is encountering shortages of sanitizers and face masks, like other countries throughout the world, and has mobilized all in its power to fight the disease at a time of unilateral US sanctions.

“The sanctions are unjust, they are an act of war and they should be lifted; they should never have been imposed in the first place. The people imposing the sanctions; it’s Secretary [Steven] Menuchin of the Treasury office, it is the sanctions office in the Treasury which is a hotbed of Zionism and vindictive, political coercion,” Jones told Press TV on Thursday.political coercion,” Jones told Press TV.

Asked whether the US was politicizing the outbreak to put pressure on the Iranian people, the American writer said the officials in the administration of President Donald Trump have been “politicizing everything with the Iranian people,” and that’s part of “punishing” the Iranians over their 2015 nuclear agreement.

“The big issue here that no one can resolve at this point is whether this is a bio weapon that escaped from the laboratories in Wuhan or whether it’s a kind of natural occurrence like the flu every year,” Jones went on to say, referring to the Chinese city identified as the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

“The only reasonable response seems to be the quarantine, that’s not something that costs any money, it’s disruptive but it doesn’t cost any money… Iran is perfectly capable of imposing quarantine without any type of outside help,” he added.

The US reinstated its sanctions against Iran in May 2018 after leaving a UN-endorsed nuclear agreement with Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Tehran sued Washington at the International Court of Justice afterwards and the tribunal ruled that the US should lift its sanctions on humanitarian supplies.

Paolo Raffone, a political analyst in Brussels, was the other panelist invited to The Debate program and described the US sanctions against Iran as a “weapon” to wage an indirect war on the country.

“It is absolutely nonsensical to apply sanctions on medical needs especially during the pandemic that we are all living, but as we know the United States uses this as a weapon to conduct an indirect type of war towards Iran,” Raffone said.

Denouncing as “very incomprehensible” a recent statement by the US to help Iran fight the coronavirus, the analyst said, “The Trump administration is not capable to help itself at all, so how do they think can help anybody else outside of the United States. We see what’s happening with this pandemic in the United States is a total mismanagement at the moment.”

More than 137,000 people have been infected by the virus in 131 countries and territories and over 5,000 have died, the vast majority of them in China, according to a Reuters tally.

Iran’s Health Ministry announced on Friday that 1,289 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been detected across the country in the last 24 hours, which brings the total number of infected people to 11,364 cases. The new coronavirus has claimed another 85 lives, bringing to 514 the overall number of deaths in Iran.

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