TEHRAN, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday said that U.S. would be responsible for the "destructive ramifications" of its unilateral sanctions against Iran as the country is fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
"At a time when we, Iranians, normally celebrate Nowruz, our New Year concurrent with the arrival of spring, we are faced with multiple and historic challenges," Zarif said in a video released on Twitter on Wednesday.
"My country is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus," he said, adding that also, "Iran, today, is the most intensely sanctioned country in history, not in line with United Nations' decisions but contrary to them."
The Iranian foreign minister noted that the economic siege imposed by the United States on Iran impedes all the legitimate trade and deprives the Iranians of their own resources, the ones necessary to address the needs of Iranians, including their health and livelihoods.
"Even amid this pandemic, the U.S. government has vengefully refused to lift its unlawful and collective punishment, making it virtually impossible for us to even buy medicine and medical equipment," he said.
He also criticized some other countries for what he called their compliance with the U.S. pressures against Iran.
"The bigger tragedy is that many companies and countries who officially opposed these sanctions have chosen to comply with them, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the future wrath of the United States despite President Trump time and again proving that this is just wishful thinking," he said.
Earlier in the day, Zarif called for international pressure on the United States to lift its sanctions against the country, official IRNA news agency reported.
Zarif urged the U.S. "illegal, inhuman and unilateral sanctions against Iran" should be removed as the country is struggling to stem novel coronavirus.
Zarif on Tuesday called for a global campaign to defy U.S. anti-Iran sanctions.
"Unlawful U.S. sanctions drained Iran's economic resources, impairing ability to fight COVID-19," Zarif said. "They (the sanctions) literally kill innocents."
Also, Iranian ambassador to Britain, Hamid Baeidinejad, on Wednesday said that "In a letter to UK media, we requested them to urgently increase international awareness regarding inhuman nature of U.S. sanctions impeding Iran to mobilize all its resources to fight novel coronavirus."
"The U.S. must stop terrorizing Iranian people and countries should disregard sanctions," Baeidinejad tweeted.
Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education on Wednesday announced the death of 1,135 people out of 17,361 infections to COVID-19 in Iran.