Could the list of coronavirus casualties soon include the draconian sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Iran in an effort to force it to negotiate a new nuclear deal or face economic and financial ruin?

This is, apparently, the new reality that is taking shape right before our eyes. The regime in Tehran has been successfully exploiting the pandemic racing through the Islamic republic, which as of Wednesday has killed 3,000 people – less than Italy, Spain, USA, France and even China to break free of the noose of the crippling sanctions the US has placed around its neck two years ago.

This is happening precisely at a time when the sanctions policy seemed closer than ever to achieving its goals, and the fact that Iran may be able to break away from the sanctions could have devastating consequences as the world begins to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the US of using “medical terrorism” against his country and called on the international community to violate the “unscrupulous and illegal” US sanctions regime and come to Iran’s aid as it fights the coronavirus.

The State Department dismissed Zarif’s accusations and made it clear that the sanctions imposed on Iran exclude humanitarian aid, and that if Tehran lacks the cash to buy medical equipment for hospitals across Iran, it could use the billions of dollars held secretly by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But it seems that the Iranian foreign minister’s remarks were not coincidental as just two days later, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom announced that the European mechanism to bypass the US sanctions had become operational.

The Paris-based Instex was established last year as part of the European powers’ efforts to preserve what remains of the nuclear agreement with Iran in the wake of the US withdrawal from it. Given US banking sanctions on any company that does business with Iran, Instex aims to allow for financial wire transfers between Iran and the West, thus guaranteeing the transactions signed between the parties.

According to the official announcement, the first transaction made using Instex included only medical supplies. However, talks are already underway to close more deals. All this is happening just days after the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced a new breach of the nuclear deal via the production of new, faster centrifuges slated to go online soon.

Washington is currently busy trying to curb the coronavirus pandemic in the US and it has neither the time nor the interest to respond to these developments. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even addressed the possibility of easing sanctions on Iran due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.

Needless to say, the ayatollahs’ regime places zero value on the lives of ordinary Iranians. The number of Iranians killed when protests broke out across the Islamic republic last fall is at least half of the country’s corona death toll. Tehran callously exploits the human tragedy and the global crisis to create more favorable conditions for itself in the post-pandemic era, and it has traditional European cynicism to draw from: while European countries, including France and Britain, plead for medical aid to overcome the outbreak, neighboring Germany opts to send medical aid to Iran.

The Iranians have more than enough resources, both declared and hidden, to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Anyone who takes pity on them now will be made to pay dearly for it in the future. It is precisely at this time that the sanctions must be enforced so as to force the regime to either yield or collapse.

Source » israelhayom