Iranian FM Zarif says US to live in infamy for defunding WHO amid virus pandemic

Iranian FM Zarif says US to live in infamy for defunding WHO amid virus pandemic

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has hit out at the US for deciding to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the world may now better realize Tehran’s long experience of bearing the brunt of Washington’s bullying that kills people.

“The world is learning what Iran has known & experienced all along: US regime's bullying, threatening & vainglorious blathering isn’t just an addiction: it kills people,” Zarif said in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Like "maximum pressure" against Iran, the shameful defunding WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy,” he added.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he was halting funding to the WHO while a review is conducted.

Trump said the review would cover the UN agency’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

Trump halts WHO funding as world scrambles to contain coronavirus pandemic

The announcement comes as the world is experiencing the worst global pandemic in decades, and as the US president is criticized for downplaying the deadly virus while putting the blame elsewhere.

Trump, whose administration has defied calls to ease the crippling US sanctions against Iran, which were imposed on Tehran as part of Washington’s maximum pressure campaign, claimed on Tuesday that if the WHO had acted appropriately, he could have sooner instituted a travel ban on people from China, where the new coronavirus was first reported late last year.

The US stands first in the number of the total confirmed cases of infection and death worldwide.

According to the latest figures by the worldmeters website, 614,246 cases of infection in the US have been reported so far, with 26,064 death cases, also the highest across the world.

In Iran, which is battling the virus under the toughest ever sanctions by the US, a total of 76,389 cases have been confirmed as of Wednesday, with 4,777 death cases.

Iran says US missed COVID-19 'opportunity' to quit addiction to sanctions

The US reimposed its sanctions on Iran in 2018 in defiance of global criticism after having unilaterally left a UN-endorsed nuclear deal with Tehran and five other major powers -- the UK, France, Russia, china plus Germany.

Ironically enough, the US administration, which is finding it quite hard to stop the spread of the virus inside the country, has offered to render aid to the Islamic Republic.

Iran says it does not need any help from the US and only seeks the lifting of the cruel sanctions.

US move against WHO amounts to crime against humanity

Separately on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the US decision to halt funding to the WHO showed Washington’s irresponsibility and constituted a crime against humanity as it was made at a time that the world was fighting COVID19.

US imperialism more dangerous than coronavirus for international community: Iran president

Noting that the health, well-being and safety of people around the world are directly affected by the corona epidemic, he added, ”At the worst possible time and in the midst of the war against a global catastrophe, the United States is suddenly punishing the only global coordinator of health, which is sheer irresponsibility and a crime against humanity.”

“Trump's main goal in suspending the World Health Organization's budget is to play blame game and cover up the inefficiency of the US government in containing and controlling the coronavirus,” he added.

Mousavi said that the US decision against the UN health agency constituted “a violation of their obligations to the international community.”

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