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US sanctions on Iran's access to medicines tantamount to economic terrorism: FM Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States’ sanctions targeting Iran's access to medicines and treatment services amount to economic terrorism, calling on the international community to compel the US to quit its policy.

"The US’ indiscriminate policy of maximum pressure has placed certain restrictions on Iranian citizens," IRNA quoted Zarif as saying in an address to a meeting on a public insurance program held on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday.

He added that the US’ maximum pressure policy has barred Iranian citizens from carrying out financial transactions in the medical sector, preventing them from purchasing medical equipment and instruments.

The Iranian government's efforts to reduce the impacts of such sanctions on the lives of Iranian people have been seriously undermined by the US administration's cruel and all-out war on Iranians, Zarif said.

The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that despite facing restrictions Tehran has provided some neighboring and regional countries with health and medical aid.

He emphasized that the US sanctions are in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses a nuclear deal signed between Iran and major world powers in 2015.

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Tensions have been running high between Iran and the United States since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Since quitting the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump has been running a "maximum pressure" campaign to force Iran into negotiating a new deal that addresses its ballistic missile program and regional influence.

Iran, which had been fully complying with all of its commitments despite the US withdrawal and the Europeans’ failure to abide by their obligations under the deal, began scaling down its commitments in early July.

In an interview with the National Public Radio (NPR) on Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister slammed the United States’ aggressive behavior towards the Islamic Republic, as characterized by Washington’s economic war against Tehran through the re-imposition of tough sanctions, noting that Iranians cannot be brought to their knees through such pressures.

"Abandon the illusion that Iran can be defeated by pressure," Zarif said, adding, "We are resisting an unprovoked aggression by the United States."

An Iranian pharmacology professor has said that cancer patients in Iran are losing their lives as a result of the US’ economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In a Foreign Policy article, Dr. Abbas Kebriaee Zadeh, professor of toxicology and pharmacology at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, wrote that US sanctions against Iran indirectly hamper the flow of vital medicines for cancer patients in the Islamic Republic.

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