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Iran's Zarif Says Medical Shipment Via Swiss Channel 'Not American Goodwill'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressees a gathering at the All India Association of Industries (AIAI) in Mumbai, January 17, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said a recently activated Swiss channel to allow medical supplies to reach Iran is not the result of “American goodwill”.

In December, the United States and Switzerland announced an agreement to establish a mechanism to allow medications and medical supplies to be purchased by Iran and under Swiss supervision, despite U.S. sanctions restricting trade with Iran.

On January 30, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the first shipment of medical supplies by Switzerland to Iran. On February 2, the Swiss Embassy in Tehran confirmed 180,000 packages of transplant medications reaching Iran.

Zarif speaking to reporters in Tehran Monday said the Swiss channel is much less than what the World Court has ordered the United States to do to ensure Iran gets unrestricted access to food humanitarian supplies. In October 2018, the court ruled in favor of Iran based on a treaty of friendship Iran and the U.S. had signed in 1950s with the pro-Western Shah. Consequently, the United States terminated the treaty.

Zarif told reporters, U.S. policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran remains in place. At the same time Iran’s foreign minister thanked Swiss authorities for their goodwill.

Since the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran in 2018, Tehran has been protesting that it is not able to import vital medical supplies. Washington insists that its sanctions do not extend to medical and humanitarian goods. However, banking sanctions seem to inhibit suppliers from doing business with Iran.