Iran says world learning US 'kills people' after WHO move
Iran said Wednesday the world is learning that the United States "kills people", after President Donald Trump suspended US funding for the World Health Organization amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has accused the UN body of covering up the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak in China before it spread around the world. The US president on Tuesday ordered that payments amounting to $400 million be halted pending a review of the WHO's role in allegedly "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus".
The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has topped 125,000 around the world, with more than two million people infected by the disease since December.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif likened the funding freeze to Washington's "maximum pressure" campaign against his country. The United States launched a campaign of crippling sanctions against Iran in 2018 after Trump unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear deal.
"The shameful defunding of WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy," Zarif wrote on Twitter. "The world is learning what Iran has known & experienced all along," he said.
"US regime's bullying, threatening & vainglorious blathering isn't just an addiction: it kills people."
Iran itself is battling the Middle East's most deadly outbreak which has left over 4,700 dead and more than 76,300 infected. It has repeatedly called on the Trump administration to reverse its sanctions policy, which has been opposed even by some US allies, particularly since the pandemic hit.
Medicines and medical equipment are technically exempt from the US sanctions but purchases are frequently blocked by the unwillingness of banks to process purchases for fear of incurring heavy US penalties.