Reza Najafi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s deputy for legal and international affairs, made the remark in a Saturday speech while addressing the High-level Meeting of the group of Friends of Neutrality for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development, which was hosted by Turkmenistan.
Najafi described sanctions as a form of economic terrorism, saying, “Countries imposing sanctions on [the supply of] medicine are, in fact, using drugs and medical equipment as a weapon against patients, which is totally illegal, inhumane, and shameful.”
The Iranian diplomat noted that recourse to unilateral coercive measures, including sanctions, is among destructive measures that undermines international peace and security, and not only are a blatant violation of human rights, but also hinder the economic and social development of target countries.
He added, “Such [unilateral coercive] measures are irresponsible and amount to brazen violation of international law as well as the basic principles on which the international humanitarian law is based.”
The group of Friends of Neutrality for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development was established on Turkmenistan’s initiative in 2020 with the goal of peaceful settlement of conflicts, and has about 20 countries as its members.
The United States under former President Donald Trump reinstated crippling sanctions on Iran after unilaterally walking out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018, despite Iran’s full compliance with the terms of the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The sanctions have been choking up the financial channels that could be used for providing Iran with essential medicine, material, or medical equipment.
Although Washington and its Western allies claim that humanitarian goods are exempted from sanctions, tens of thousands of patients in Iran have over the years died or developed critical ailments due to the unavailability of essential drugs.
The blanket ban on banking transactions involving Iran have made it impossible for the country to access life-saving medicine and medical equipment.
Iranian authorities say the US has been bullying companies in Europe and other parts of the world to make them stop trading with Iran.
The issue became more acute during the spread of the coronavirus in Iran in 2020 when the country was forced to delay a nationwide vaccination program against the disease because sanctions made it impossible to pay for vaccine supplies ordered from other countries.