Iran says the coronavirus pandemic underscores the need to end "madness in politics and irresponsible unilateralism" of the US government which is sabotaging the country's fight against the disease through sanctions.
"This is the ugliest face of a government addicted to sanctions which wants to revive its abortive maximum pressure campaign through weakening Iran in the face of the corona," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Instagram account Monday.
Zarif said Iran is the only country that cannot easily buy medical equipment and supplies in the face of the highly contagious disease which has infected more than 700,000 people worldwide and killed over 33,000.
"Iran's health system, its citizens and its government, like Europe and the United States, are engaged in countering the corona, but what doubles the suffering of Iranians, restricts choices in crisis management and aggravates concerns for citizens' livelihoods, is the togetherness of the sanctions and the corona," Zarif wrote.
Iran says US sanctions are hampering its efforts to curb the outbreak which has killed more than 2,750 people and infected nearly 41,500 in the country.
"The combination of sanctions and the corona is a more dangerous enemy and a more dreadful malady; sanctions make the corona bolder and taking difficult decisions for crisis management even harder," Zarif said.
Washington has rejected a lifting of sanctions and even tightened them several times in recent weeks, making it almost impossible for Iran to access life-saving medications and medical equipment.
The Islamic Republic is additionally aggrieved by the fact that international companies, especially in Europe, continue to comply with the unilateral sanctions despite US claims that medicine and food are exempted from its bans.
The Iranian foreign minister appealed to the international community, saying it "needs a moral will to defy and win over the excessive demands of the United States", adding sanctions and compliance with them "should not lead to more war crimes."
The new coronavirus initially emerged in China late last year and is now spreading across the globe. Up to one-third of the world's population is under lockdown and the virus leaves its devastating imprint on nearly every aspect of society: wiping out millions of jobs, straining healthcare services and weighing heavily on national treasuries for years to come.
Europe has emerged as the epicenter of the virus, now accounting for over two-thirds of the fatalities globally. In the United States, the virus has just begun to spread and as of Sunday evening there were more than 139,000 cases of coronavirus, with at least 2,425 people dead.
Zarif said the painful images these days have put the whole world on an unprecedented quest for a universal challenge.
"In order for global efforts to come to fruition and for the world to come back to life, we must believe that all this earth is a land of struggle and wherever we lose, the whole world will fail," he said.
"The world is in debt to every effort, whether in Wuhan, Tehran, Milan, Madrid, New York; every bitter news and every unfortunate image of human death demands the mourning of the whole world," he added.
Zarif said the fight against the coronavirus outbreak is a humanitarian campaign, and disrupting it is extremely immoral and inhumane.
"If the coronavirus pandemic fails to stop madness in politics and irresponsible unilateralism, the world and moral values will fail again."