FM Qureshi echoes PM Imran’s demand to lift Iran sanctions

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday echoed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s demands to end sanctions against Iran, as the novel coronavirus continued to claim victims in Iran and affect people in Pakistan.

The foreign minister spoke to his German counterpart Heiko Maas over the phone where he expressed concern over Iran’s situation. He said that Iran was facing difficult circumstances and economic sanctions against Iran were making it difficult for the country to contain the coronavirus.

FM Qureshi said that Iran needed medicinal drugs, ventilators and other medical equipment to tackle the pandemic. He said that the economic sanctions posed against Iran were making it difficult for the country to do so.

He urged the world to forge unity within its ranks to battle the virus which has claimed more than 10,000 lives around the globe and infected more than 200,000.

Maas, on the other hand, informed Qureshi that 68,000 Germans had been affected by the coronavirus and 68 had died. He said that the G-7 conference and the European Union Foreign Ministers Conference was about to be held during which the economic sanctions against Iran will be discussed. 

Lift sanctions against Iran: PM Imran 

On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the international community to lift sanctions from the coronavirus-hit Iran, as the country continues to report deaths and affectees from the infection. 

PM Imran’s comments came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote to him asking for help in dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak that has now killed at least 1,433 people in Iran.

“I would stress and insist to the international community to lift the sanctions on Iran,” he had said at a press conference.

“It is very unjust they are dealing with such a large outbreak on one side, and on the other they are facing international sanctions.”

Pakistan’s foreign office did not provide any additional details on Rouhani’s letter to Khan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had taken to Twitter on Tuesday to say that US sanctions were “impairing” Iran’s ability to fight the COVID-19 disease.

Under the Trump administration, the US withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal and began reimposing punishing sanctions on Iran in 2018, blocking banking transactions and oil sales, among other sectors.

Tensions have soured further since the US assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in January.