Human Rights Watch urges US to ease Iran sanctions amid COVID-19 battle

TEHRAN, Apr. 06 (MNA) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the United States government to ease the unjust sanctions against Iran, saying the economic bans have negatively affected the Islamic Republic’s ability to respond to the pandemic.

“Broad US-imposed economic sanctions are negatively affecting the Iranian government’s ability to adequately respond to the mounting health consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” HRW said in a statement released on its website on Monday.

“The US should take immediate action to ease sanctions and expand licensing of sanctions-exempt items to ensure Iran’s access to essential humanitarian resources during the pandemic,” the statement added.

According to official statistics, as of Sunday, 58,226 people in Iran contracted the virus with a death toll of 3,603.

The HRW noted that as the burden on the country’s health care system has dramatically increased due to the pandemic, the broad US economic sanctions resulting in severe international banking restrictions have drastically constrained the ability of the country to finance humanitarian imports, including medicines and medical equipment. 

While the US government has built exemptions for humanitarian imports into its sanctions regime, Human Rights Watch research in October 2019 found that in practice, these exemptions have failed to offset the strong reluctance of US and European companies and banks to risk incurring sanctions and legal action by exporting or financing exempted humanitarian goods.

The Human Rights Watch added that under international law, a country or coalition of states enforcing economic sanctions should consider the impact on the human rights of the affected population, especially regarding their access to goods essential to life, including medicines and food.

MNA/PR

News Code 157296

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