2021-May-11 21:43
2021-April-7  16:11

CBI Governor: US Blocking Iran's Access to Medical Supplies despite COVID-19

TEHRAN (FNA)- Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati underlined that while Iran is fighting the COVID-19, the US has blocked the country's access to medicine and medical equipment through its unilateral sanctions.

Hemmati made the remarks at a Video Conference of the Middle East and Central Asia Central Banks Governors (MCD) held on the sidelines of the Spring Session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He noted that at a time when medical supplies and medicine were highly needed in Iran, the unilateral and illegally imposed US sanctions had blocked the path for Iranian concerned officials access to them.

“Iran has made the required moves aimed at importing Corona vaccines and also started the vaccination of the high risk citizens, but we still not have full and broad access to those vaccines. Yet, under such conditions that there are still ambiguities about the termination of the US sanctions, good and satisfactory moves for production of Iranian vaccines are made that are very promising,” Hemmati added.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, Iran reiterated that removal of sanctions is the first and most necessary step which should be taken by Washington.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi, who headed the Iranian delegation in the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna on Tuesday, emphasized that removal of US sanctions is the first and most necessary step to revive the nuclear deal.

He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to suspend its nuclear remedial measures and return to JCPOA commitments as soon as the sanctions are lifted.

The JCPOA Joint Commission held its 18th round of talks in the Austrian city of Vienna, with representatives of Iran, Russia, China, France and Britain in attendance.

The US has been absent from the Commission and its discussions since 2018, when former American president Donald Trump took Washington out of the JCPOA and returned the sanctions that the nuclear accord had lifted.

Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee had on Tuesday reiterated his country’s position that the remedial measures adopted under the nuclear deal to retaliate the world powers’ disloyalty to the agreement will not be reversed by Iran until the US lifts all its sanctions.

“Implementation of the nuclear deal is as simple as its violation by the US. Iran will not reverse the steps it has taken in reduction of its obligations until the sanctions are completely lifted. No step-by-step plan has been announced by us and Iran has not accepted any such plan,” Rabiyee told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

He referred to the today meeting of the nuclear deal Joint Commission in Vienna, and said, “Today, we are at the beginning of a plan to revive the nuclear deal and the US government has no choice but to end its law-breaking behavior and illegal sanctions.”

Rabiyee said that the agenda of the Tuesday meeting in Vienna is to lift the US cruel sanctions against Iran and studying ways that the other side fulfills its undertakings.

“What Iran will do is within the framework of the previous declaration, that is lifting of all US sanctions and all sanctions imposed on the Iranian people or re-imposed or relabeled on different pretexts after Trump came to power, and all these should be removed, and this is a clear logic, and all these measures should be verified,” he added.

“We welcome any US move to correct the wrong path of the past and return to the right path. No direct or indirect talks with no US sides has or will take place in Vienna or anywhere else. We will provide the G4+1 with the course of action that the US should pave and the comprehensive sanctions that it should lift,” Rabiyee said.

He also underlined Iran’s good progress in developing its peaceful nuclear program, and said, “So far, 6 complete IR2M cascades have been installed in Natanz. Also, two complete IR4 cascades and one complete IR6 cascade have been installed. The capacity of the installed centrifuge machines is currently 16,500 SWUs (Separative Working Units), while the maximum capacity before the nuclear deal stood at 13,000 SWUs.”

Iran announced on Sunday that the country’s officials will have no talks with their American counterparts in Vienna, saying that Tehran will only hold technical negotiations with the Group 4+1.

“In Vienna, we will not have any talks with the Americans, either directly or indirectly. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the G4 + 1 countries, and we will declare our demand and condition to return to the nuclear deal," Araqchi said, and added, "Our demand and condition is that the US should first fulfill all its nuclear deal undertakings and lift all sanctions, and then we will verify it and return (to our modified undertakings).”

He described the Tuesday talks with the G4+1 as technical, and said they will focus on the sanctions which should be lifted and the measures that should be adopted and their order and sequence, and the verifying measures which need to be taken.

“We do not have or accept any step-by-step proposal. In our view, there is no step but one that the US should take; it should lift all sanctions that were re-imposed during Trump’s era or were imposed recently or re-labeled, and these should be defined, and the US should lift them, and then we will verify and revive our undertakings,” Araqchi said.

“The final step that they and we have to take should be precisely specified, and it will be clear only in our technical talks with the G4+1 countries,” he added.

Iran’s foreign ministry had also on Saturday dismissed any step-by-step lifting of the illegal US sanctions entailing reciprocal actions by Tehran and Washington, stressing that Iran won’t concede to any plan for the revival of nuclear deal except for a full removal of all sanctions beforehand.

"As has been clearly stated many times, no step-by-step plan is being considered," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.  

“The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions, whether those which Trump re-imposed after leaving the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other title," he added.

His remarks came in response to claims made by US State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Jalina Porter, who has said on Friday that Washington would lift sanctions step-by-step in line with Iran’s return to its commitments.

Also, on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Commission meeting in Vienna is due to finalize the moves needed to revive the nuclear deal, but further rejected any kind of talks with the US.

“At virtual JCPOA JC meeting, Iran & EU/E3+2 agreed to resume in-person talks in Vienna next Tues,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page, pointing to the JCPOA Joint Commission that was held virtually earlier on the day, adding that the Tuesday session will be focused on ‘rapidly’ finalizing the lifting of sanctions by the US.

He noted that once the sanctions are removed, Iran will stop its remedial measures.

Zarif also reacted to some reports on the US’ presence in the upcoming meeting, saying there won't be any Iran-US meeting as it would be "Unnecessary".