"To meet the special challenges of our time, we need to solidify our cooperation within the framework of CICA. We need to secure a pivotal role for the organization, to advance multilateralism, and to ensure inclusive collaboration. It is imperative for us to pool our resources to jointly tackle the enormous challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic," Zarif said, addressing a virtual meeting of foreign ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Thursday.
"First and foremost, we all need to embrace multilateralism and reject unilateralism in addressing a global challenge of this magnitude; one that has defied all geographical, political, and socio-economic divisions," he added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
"As CICA members, we should strive to strengthen cooperation within the framework of our organization—in coordination with the UN and WHO—to ensure full, free, and fair access to health services, medicine, and medical equipment for our peoples. We must also act to ensure that no one can arbitrarily challenge professional international organization," Zarif said.
He noted that the CICA members should collectively emphasize the need for industrialized economies to assist developing countries in the transfer of medical technology and equipment, and added, "And we must urge international economic institutions—as well as wealthy countries—to provide other nations and relevant international and regional organizations with necessary financial assistance in their campaigns against the pandemic."
"As inheritors of great Asian civilizations, we should always encourage a people-first approach, putting saving human lives and human dignity above all else, and reject any politicization of the pandemic."
"We need to jointly confront the destructive impact of unilateral coercive measures on efforts to combat the pandemic. They are nothing but economic and medical terrorism, and we must refuse to comply with these unlawful measures in our collective endeavor to tackle this common affliction of humanity," Zarif said.
"The only way to overcome common challenges that threaten the health and security of our nations is to work together to find common solutions that effectively and decisively address the sources of the threats. My country stands ready to join our friends and neighbors in CICA and exchange knowledge and expertise in this collective mission."
"We need humility and multilateral cooperation to grapple with a microscopic enemy that has brought major powers to their knee—without deference to their military might, economic wealth and propaganda machines," Zarif concluded.
Iran reported 3,605 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday to increase the total number of infections to 432,798.
"3,605 new patients infected with COVID-19 have been identified in the country based on confirmed diagnosis criteria during the past 24 hours,” Iranian Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Wednesday, and added, "1,594 patients have been hospitalized during the same time span.”
She added that the total number of COVID-19 patients has increased to 432,798.
“Unfortunately, 184 patients have passed away in the past 24 hours, increasing the number of the dead to 24,840,” the spokeswoman noted.
Lari expressed satisfaction that 365,846 coronavirus patients have recovered or been discharged from hospitals so far.
The spokeswoman further said that 3,948 cases infected with COVID-19 are in critical conditions.
She went on to say that 3,828,330 coronavirus diagnosis tests have so far been conducted across the country.
Lari said that 24 provinces are still in red conditions and 5 provinces are in the status of alert.
The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.
As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and most universities have been extended until further notice.