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Iran says US coercion putting global trade system in danger

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Es'haq Al-e Habib

Iran says the US' illegal sanctions and coercion have jeopardized the international trade system, and the world must break its silence over the "unprecedented threat".

The remarks were made by Iran's deputy ambassador to the UN Es'haq Al-e Habib in an address to a meeting of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly held in New York on Monday.

"One cannot deny the fact that commitment to multilateral cooperation as a basis and foundation for global treaties and agreements is currently under unprecedented and growing pressure," the Iranian diplomat said.

"Sanction-based policies have made multilateral financial and trade system very inefficient, and now it is upon the international community to guarantee that the financing of development is not taken hostage by certain countries through unilateral coercive measures," he added.

"The illegal and illegitimate coercive and unilateral measures of the US, including its unprecedented and unjustifiable sanctions against certain developing countries, Iran in particular, amid the international community's silence have increased in an unprecedented way and threaten the foundations of multilateralism," Al-e Habib said.

Tensions have been running high between Iran and the United States since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from the nuclear deal, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Trump is a stern critic of the deal, which was clinched in 2015 by Iran and six world powers, including the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany. Under the agreement, nuclear-related sanctions put in place against Iran were lifted in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

In his Monday speech, Al-e Habib also criticized the World Trade Organization for blocking Iran's membership for two decades because of the political pressures of certain member states, saying that unilateral behaviors are currently targeting the WTO, jeopardizing the entire trade system of the world.

Iran, the largest economy not yet member of the WTO, has been requesting to join the Organization since 1995, and was admitted to it as an observer in 2005, but sanctions began to hit Tehran afterwards and certain countries - especially the US - opposed its membership.

The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.

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