Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, April 23, 2020 (Excerpts)

U.S. attempts to block the delivery of medications to Iran; Launch of the Noor military satellite by Iran
April 23, 2020

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile

Related Country: 

  • Russia
  • United States


Question: How can you comment on the United States obstructing medical deliveries to Iran?

Maria Zakharova: We believe that Washington’s course of tightening illegitimate unilateral sanctions against Iran, which has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is unacceptable.

In this context we are guided by the position formulated by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit videoconference on March 26. He stressed the need to establish so-called green corridors and a moratorium on restrictions with regard to the supplies of medicines and essential goods as well as their purchases by the countries hit by the pandemic.

The Russian Federation has repeatedly pointed out the illegitimate nature of unilateral US sanctions against Iran and other countries. We strongly urge the United States to lift the restrictions and not to hinder a comprehensive response to the coronavirus.

Together with like-minded partners we have been campaigning against inhumane sanctions which the United States and some of its allies adopted as their main foreign policy tool. These efforts have brought about certain results. In his written address to the G20 leaders, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on removing the existing sanctions against other countries in order to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of US Democratic senators sent a similar letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made a critical statement on this subject from the human rights perspective.

The present difficult situation in the world has shown the true face of the Western countries, which often use the terms of humanitarian law. It turns out that most of them prefer a different approach. That is deplorable.

Question: How would you comment on the fact that the United States is urging the UN Security Council to evaluate whether the launch of Iran’s military satellite, Noor, was consistent with Security Council Resolution 2231? US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this at a briefing on Wednesday.

Maria Zakharova: This is not the first time that a state which blatantly violates international law and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 tries to shield itself from international blame by groundlessly accusing Iran of non-compliance with Security Council requirements. Such unscrupulous tricks have long discredited themselves and proved their complete inadequacy, which is confirmed by the results of numerous discussions at the UN Security Council on the implementation of Resolution 2231. As you know, neither the resolution itself, nor the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limit the rights and capabilities of Tehran in its civilian activities in space exploration and the development of relevant national programmes. The futile attempts of some analysts in Washington to present it like Iran’s space rockets can bear nuclear weapons are a pure manipulation that are smashed by reality: Iran has never had and, we hope, will never have nuclear weapons. Iran, as the resolution stipulates, does not develop, test, own or use ballistic missiles that can carry warheads. We want to emphasise that unlike the United States, which surprises the world every day with the news of plans to develop its nuclear potential. Let me remind you that in the past years since the JCPOA was signed, Iran has remained a state with the biggest number of IAEA inspections, who have never found any nuclear weapons there, despite the fact that inspectors are working tirelessly day and night regardless of the coronavirus risks. It seems that somebody in Washington is not very happy that despite unprecedented pressure and difficulties deliberately created by the US authorities Tehran has stubbornly complied with its non-proliferation obligations. Because in this case, the global attention is focused on the faults and violations of the United States itself, which, as always, claims its exceptional nature. In this case, exceptional is the presumptuousness with which the United States manipulates the clauses of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, and the infinitely cynical approach to international law that as our overseas colleagues believe, is mandatory for everyone but them.

This distorted logic became especially clear and vivid in the recent report by the State Department on the implementation of arms control agreements and treaties. Our American colleagues were too shy to mention the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 (apparently, so as not to remind the others about their own violations), but reprimanded Tehran, which, by their own admittance, has not violated anything yet, but in case it does, Washington condemns it beforehand. Unfortunately, US violations of Resolution 2231 are not a forecast, but a diagnosis. Intended for an unprepared audience, the deliberately false statements of high-ranking US officials cannot alter our resolve to continue fighting together with our partners for the preservation of the JCPOA and its implementation in accordance with the agreed goals in a timely manner.