On April 21, 2020, President Bashar al-ASSAD received Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad ZARIF and the accompanying delegation.
At the start of the meeting, President al-ASSAD offered condolences to Iran and its people over the victims of the Coronavirus, voicing regret that this pandemic has become a subject of political investment by some states in the West, mainly the United States which continues to impose sanctions on states despite of these exceptional humanitarian circumstances.
Iran’s foreign minister used a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-ASSAD to call on the U.S. to lift sanctions imposed on both countries, during his first visit to the war-ravaged country in a year.
“Now, the true intentions of the US with regard to its refusal to lift cruel sanctions on nations under the difficult situation of fighting against this disease has been revealed,” ZARIF said.
Tehran has repeatedly said it does not seek Washington’s help in the fight, but wants it to lift its unilateral economic sanctions so that Iran could mobilize its own resources to tackle the pandemic.
The administration of US President Donald TRUMP has not only defied international calls on Washington in recent weeks to halt its draconian sanctions on Tehran but has even slapped more such restrictive measures on the Islamic Republic.
ZARIF said America had shown its inhumane face to the world by refusing to lift sanctions during the pandemic.
Both officials tackled the latest political developments, including the constitutional committee, the Astana process, the developments in the north of Syria, as well as the developing bilateral relations, including economic relations and encouraging joint investments to benefit the two countries’ peoples.
President al-ASSAD said Turkey’s actions on the ground exposes its true intentions, with its lack of commitment to the agreements it entered whether in Astana or Sochi, all of which stipulate for recognizing Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
ZARIF denounced the West’s current attempts to re-exploit the issue of “chemical weapons” in Syria, saying that it is shameful that this pretext would be used again in light of the situation around the world, not to mention all the doubts and inconsistencies that emerged regarding this issue recently.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-MOALLEM, Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina SHAABAN, and Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal MIKDAD.
In the same context, Minister al-MOALLEM discussed with ZARIF and the accompanying delegation the historical relations between the two countries and means to improve and bolster them, stressing the need to build upon the distinguished strategic levels of these relations in all fields, particularly in light of the mutual challenges facing the two countries’ peoples.
They underlined the importance of constant coordination and exchanging data and expertise among the relevant sides in the two countries to strengthen the ability to confront the threat and repercussions of the Coronavirus and to provide the requirements for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Syria and Iran are both under American sanctions that they both say are affecting their fight against the virus by limiting some humanitarian imports.
The armed conflict began in Syria in 2011. But the Syrian military, receiving support from its allies, has taken back control of most of the areas that had been held by militants and terrorist groups. Iran has been a close ally of Assad in Syria’s long civil war, lending his government in Damascus vital military and economic support.
Iran is facing one of the worst outbreaks in the Middle East with 83,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and more than 5,200 deaths from the Covid-19 illness it causes. Syria has reported only 39 cases of the virus and two deaths.
On April 20, Iran began a gradual easing of its lockdown to stimulate its sanctions-choked economy, gambling that it has brought under control its coronavirus outbreak.