Tehran(ANN)-The Iranian and Austrian presidents express opposition to the persisting US sanctions, saying the bans constitute an obstacle to provision of medical supplies needed to combat the new coronavirus pandemic gripping the world.

Speaking on the phone on Wenesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Austrian couterpart Alexander Van der Bellen stressed the need for comprehensive international cooperation to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

They also emphasized that Tehran and Vienna are ready to share their experience and strengthen their joint cooperation to that end.

Despite the current difficult conditions amid the fight against COVID-19, Rouhani said, the United States presses ahead with its sanctions impeding Iran’s efforts to meet its pharmaceutical and medical needs.

“The US administration strongly opposes even borrowing money from the International Monetary Fund to fight the virus,” he added.

“Europe’s activity is of significance as to how to deal with this pandemic, help countries and end the illegal [US] sanctions, and I hope we will see a new move and initiative on the part of Europe,” Rouhani noted.

Emphasizing that amid the current global outbreak of the coronavirus, all efforts should be focused on lifting sanctions, resolving differences and ending conflicts, Rouhani said that Iran seeks peace and stability in the region and expects Europe to put pressure on the Israeli regime to stop its acts of aggression against Syria, Lebanon and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Referring to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, Rouhani said the European Union should take a more serious stance with regard to its commitments to international issues and the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, has been doing its best to curb the deadly virus despite the hardships caused by the US sanctions.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has not only defied international calls in recent weeks to halt the draconian sanctions, but has even slapped more restrictive measures on the Islamic Republic.

Washington re-imposed its sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA that has been endorsed by the UN Security Council.


The Austrian president, for his part, said his country and the EU oppose the US sanctions against Iran and will continue their cooperation with Tehran.

“We are trying to improve relations between Iran and Europe without being influenced by the United States,” he said, stressing that the US acts are in contravention of international treaties and law.

He also underlined his country’s interest in expanding cooperation with Iran in the fight against the coronavirus.

The two presidents also stressed the need to strengthen INSTEX, a non-dollar direct payment channel officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges — which aims to keep trade between Iran and Europe in the face of the US sanctions

Source: Presstv