Tehran, Nov 13 (IANS): A top Iranian human rights official on Sunday blamed US sanctions that deny Iranians access to essential medicines for thousands of deaths in the country during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kazem Gharibabadi, Secretary of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights and Deputy Chief of the Iranian Judiciary for International Affairs, made the remarks while speaking to Iranian media in New York, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported. During the visit, he will attend the UN General Assembly Third Committee meetings, according to IRNA.
Gharibabadi noted that the sanctions, preventing Iran from transferring money through financial channels, made it difficult for the country to import Covid-19 vaccines and the necessary medicine during that period, Xinhua news agency reported.
The US and some European countries claimed to support Iranians' human rights, particularly during the recent "riots" in Iran, while the lives of millions of Iranians have been affected by the US unilateral sanctions and some European countries' compliance, he said.
"We see that those countries that consider themselves human rights advocates, particularly the US and some other Western states, are extensively violating such rights in their own territories or in other countries. We maintain that these states are in no way eligible for being the flagbearers of human rights," he noted.
Iran has, over the past four decades, been constantly under US sanctions, with the embargoes having intensified since 2018 when Washington pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
According to the Iranian Health Ministry, nearly 7,560,000 people have so far been infected with the coronavirus in the country, of which 144,609 have died of the disease.
Due to the US sanctions, which have indirectly impacted Iran's imports of medicine and other humanitarian items, the country initially could not purchase Covid-19 vaccines and necessary medicine, witnessing on some days, death toll of around 700 per day in 2021, according to the Ministry.