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7 Dec, 2020 13:44

‘Inhumane’ US sanctions blocking Tehran from purchasing Covid-19 vaccine, says Iran’s central bank chief

‘Inhumane’ US sanctions blocking Tehran from purchasing Covid-19 vaccine, says Iran’s central bank chief

US-imposed economic restrictions are preventing Iran from acquiring a coronavirus vaccine, the governor of the country’s central bank has said, echoing Tehran’s protests over Washington’s so-called “medical terrorism.”

Abdolnaser Hemmati expressed frustration over Iran’s inability to transfer money so that it could purchase Covid-19 jabs from abroad. He blamed the obstacles on “the US government’s inhumane sanctions and the need for permission from OFAC,” referring to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department, Iranian media reported, citing his Instagram post. 

“South Korea could not guarantee that the Central Bank of Iran’s fund will not be confiscated by the US government in the course of [the] transaction of money via a dollar U-turn path for humanitarian purchases,” Hemmati explained. 

The central bank chief claimed that Iran qualified for a humanitarian loan from the International Monetary Fund in order to pay for the vaccine, but said Washington was exerting political pressure to block such financial assistance. The purchase of the drugs should be facilitated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that no nation is denied access, he noted. 

Hemmati’s concerns follow similar statements made by Tehran about the consequences of US sanctions. Iran’s deputy health minister announced last month that the Islamic Republic had been deprived of five million flu doses this year as a result of Washington’s economic chokehold. 

In September, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told RT that the United States was preventing Tehran from using its own money to purchase critical medical supplies, causing incalculable harm as Iran combats coronavirus. 

The top Iranian diplomat denounced the US measures as “basically medical terrorism” and predicted that countries around the world would eventually phase out their use of the US dollar in order to shield themselves against Washington’s economic dictates.

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