Phone call between Iran Foreign Minister and Guterres, focus on Yemen and sanctions

August 22, 2020

The Foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, had a telephone conversation with the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres. Local media, including the Iranian press agency Mehr, reported on Friday. During the talks, Guterres allegedly presented Zarif’s latest UN efforts to resolve the conflict in Yemen and appealed to Iran to help to solve some environmental problems in the Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah.

In response, Zarif allegedly reiterated that Iran is willing to use its good offices in this regard. Foreign Minister of Teheran then discussed the United States’ decision to activate the controversial “snapback” clause to restore all suspended international sanctions against Iran.  The minister labeled the US act as illegal, highlighting the responsibility of the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Guterres in this topic. Zarif allegedly said that all parties to the International Nuclear Agreement (JCPO) believe that the United States is no longer a party to the agreement, and the Washington initiative has no basis under Security Council Resolution 2231 and JCPOA.

Zarif would later warn that the US move will have dangerous consequences for international law and will result in harmful international mechanisms, as well as discredit the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, Germany, France, and Great Britain have announced to the UN their opposition to the reintroduction of sanctions, arousing a harsh reaction from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who yesterday speaking to journalists accused Berlin, Paris, and London of taking sides with the ayatollahs.

The UN recently raised the alarm about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, stressing that due to lack of funds, many civilian assistance programs have ceased or are in danger of being curtailed. “Half of the major UN programs in Yemen suffer from lack of funds,” explained the humanitarian coordinator of the international organization for the country, Lise Grande, pointing out that already 12 of the 38 main programs have ceased or drastically reduced, and others 20 risks the same fate.

“We must warn the world that millions of Yemenis will suffer and could die because we do not have the necessary funds.” She warned, speaking on the occasion of the World Humanitarian Aid Day. Since the end of 2018, humanitarian agencies have conducted one of the most extensive relief operations in recent history, reaching 14 million people each month. The COVID-19 pandemic and the torrential rains of the last few weeks have further complicated the already tragic Yemeni scenario.

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