US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily coronavirus briefing as Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia (R) looks on in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 09, 2020 in Washington, DC, US. (Photo by AFP)
Iranís Ambassador to Belgium Gholam Hossein Dehqani has cast doubt about the American officialsí intention to relieve anti-Iran bans should the Islamic Republic make a direct plea for the removal of sanctions, saying that Washington wants Iran to surrender to US demands.
In an op-ed published by Euronews on Thursday, Dehqani censured Washington over ignoring the global calls for sanctions relief as Iran is battling the deadly new coronavirus, which has killed has killed 4,110 people in the country.
"By this, they probably mean a direct plea to the US government to obtain the relief. They even went so far as to blame the entire international campaign as Iranís sanctions relief scam. Is the US government stalling such relief only pending a direct request from the Iranian side? Or, could it be a matter of the US administrationís policy within the broader maximum pressure campaign?" he wrote.
Dehqani said that "first and foremost, as a matter of principle, Iran does not recognize the unilateral sanctions of the United States and deems these unilateral coercive measures illegal and a violation of international law".
President Donald Trump brazenly said last week that the US had no "moral responsibility" to halt Iran sanctions if Tehran did not ask for it to fight the pandemic.
"No, no, no, they didnít even ask me about it," Trump said last week during a press briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force when asked if he had a "moral responsibility" to lift the sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the International Monetary Fund must fulfill its duties toward all member countries, including Iran, without any bias.
In an interview with BBC Persian last November, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iranian officials must listen to Washington "if they want their people to eat."
Dehqani said that the US is seeking "maximum expectations" from its "maximum pressure" campaigning, saying that Washington wants Iran to surrender.
"It appears the maximum pressure campaign set a maximum expectation for the Trump administration too. The secretary of stateís remarks to the effect that Iran had to listen to the United States, "if they want[ed] their people to eat" is a stark reminder of such expectation. Also, President Trumpís adamant insistence that Iran call them is as telling an example of this mentality. In this light, they will accept nothing short of Iranís surrender," he said.
"Under such circumstances, even the slightest hint would be interpreted in a maximalist light as Iranís submission," said Dehqani, stressing that, "this maximum expectation will no doubt breed disappointment for the US administration."
He expressed deep disdain for the course of action the US has adopted since 8 May 2018" when Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed its sanctions. Dehqani noted that "smart diplomacy is the sum of the many small steps towards confidence-building."
The ambassador also said " Iran is not alone in rejecting the legitimacy of US sanctions. The European Union, for its part, does not recognize the extraterritorial effects of third-party legislation, and forbade the compliance by EU citizens with the extraterritorial effects of certain sanctions that serve the foreign policy objectives of a third country at the expense of the sovereignty of EU member states".
He pointed to the recent remarks made by European Union (EU) foreign policy chief, JosepBorrell, who said sanctions should not block deliveries of medical equipment and supplies to countries working to curb the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
The Iranian ambassador pointed to various calls from international bodies, including the UN for the removal of sanctions against those countries affected by the corona virus and said, "COVID-19 is not a national issue; it is not confined to a certain geography, region, nation, culture and so on. It has created a unique moment of global solidarity".
Since the coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration has imposed at least three rounds of new sanctions targeting trade with Iran.
US hell-bent on blocking Iranís request for IMF loan
Reports also say that the US is seeking to block Iranís requested $5 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for funding which Tehran requires to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, a State Department spokesperson claimed that Iran was"seeking cash to fund its adventurism abroad, not to buy medicine for Iranians".
A US Treasury official said, "We remain opposed to funding going to Iran", claiming that the cash be used to finance Iranís "destabilizing activities".
The US has the largest number of shares within the IMF, giving it 16.5% of the bodyís total votes. Technically, other IMF member countries could amass a majority of votes to approve Iranís loan even with US opposition.
The Europeans and many other countries have reportedly come out in favor of the loan.
However, the US statements against aid for Iran send a powerful message that might be all thatís required to stop any attempt to help Tehran, CNN said.
Secretary of Iranís Supreme National Security Council Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said over the weekend that the United States was using its clout within the IMF to stonewall the loan request.
The Trump administration is under growing pressure to relax its sanctions on Iran to ensure access to essential supplies and medical support during the pandemic.
UN Secretary General António Guterres has advocated for US sanctions relief to ensure access to essential supplies and medical support, saying that sanctions risk the health of millions.
More than 66,000 people have been tested positive for the COVID-19 since it was spotted in Iran on February 19. More than 32,000 people have recovered, while over 4,100 died, according to figures provided by the Iranian health ministry on Thursday.
SOURCE: PRESS TV