01 April 2020 - 12:13
News ID: 449843
A group of Iranian university lecturers has called for the prosecution of top US and European officials for committing crimes against humanity even as the Islamic country battles the new coronavirus pandemic despite Washington’s unilateral sanctions.

RNA - In a letter to the United Nations chief, the heads of the UN General Assembly, and the UN human rights council on Tuesday, the academics called for the trial of US President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, and their cabinet ministers among others.

The group blasted the US’s anti-Iran sanctions as a “blatant violation of the international law,” arguing that the restrictions deprived Iranians of medicines and protective equipment they need to fight the deadly virus outbreak.

The Iranian university lecturers said the bans have posed serious risks to chronic patients in the country and have led to the death of many others. The letter also blamed some European countries for collaborating with the US and following in Washington’s footsteps in imposing illegal sanctions on Tehran.

Grappling with the coronavirus outbreak, Iran is facing sweeping American and European Union sanctions targeting every aspect of the Iranian economy.

Many world leaders, figures and groups have called on the US to suspend the sanctions that have negatively impacted Iran’s efforts to curb the outbreak.

Washington, however, has rejected the calls, denying recent reports that it seeks to scale back sanctions against Iran.

Iran has sought to counter the US bans restricting much needed aid by stepping up the development of its own necessary medical equipment and supplies.

On March 7, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at US President Donald Trump for tightening "illegal" sanctions against Iran, saying such a move is aimed at draining the Islamic Republic's resources required in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The new coronavirus, a respiratory disease known as Covid-19, initially emerged in China late last year and is now spreading across the globe. Worldwide, there have been more than 856,000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 42,000 deaths.

Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour reported on Tuesday 3,111 new infections and 141 more deaths from the virus over the past 24 hours.

In total, 44,606 Iranian have contracted the disease and 2,898 have died, he pointed out, saying 14,656 patients have recovered so far.

Lift sanctions on Iran, Venezuela in coronavirus crisis: UN

In a related development on Tuesday, the United Nations called for the lifting of sanctions on such countries such as Iran and Venezuela amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said the continued imposition of economic sanctions “severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food” as the two countries struggle to contain the flu-like pathogen.

“These countries are already under stress and cannot handle the additional burden of sanctions. As the world exhibits new bonds of solidarity in response to the pandemic, it is now a matter of humanitarian and practical urgency to lift unilateral economic sanctions immediately,” Elver added.

Iran has time and again blamed the US for hampering its efforts to import medicine and other medical supplies to confront Covid-19. Venezuela also says US sanctions have caused fuel shortages and hindered the delivery of food amid the coronavirus outbreak.



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