TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged Germany to end its “despicable” coronavirus apartheid against the Palestinian people instead of lecturing Iran on what it should do.
“Here’s what @HeikoMaas & E3 must do before speaking abt what Iran should do: Stop despicable #CovidApartheid,” Zarif tweeted on Friday night.
He was referring to recent reports in the Israeli media that said Germany has promised to include the country in the EU’s coronavirus vaccination deal that is being made with large pharmaceutical companies.
According to TRT World, the pledge was made by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Health Minister Jens Spahn to Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi as a continuation of the country’s “special relationship” because of the Holocaust.
However, there have been no commitments made by Germany towards the Palestinians, who are suffering from a shortage of medical equipment after more than a decade of a deadly Israeli siege leaving hospitals without vital equipment needed to cope with a pandemic.
In a recent interview with the Tehran Times, the former Palestinian health minister said the Israeli blockade against the Gaza Strip for more than fourteen years has affected all aspects of life in the coastal strip including health, educational, social and humanitarian aspects, especially as the enclave is facing the Coronavirus pandemic.
Basem Naim said many countries have failed to contain the epidemic let alone the Gazans who are under the Israeli blockade.
“Gaza is facing an epidemic, many countries have failed to defeat until now, so the conditions are much more difficult in the Gaza Strip,” Naim told the Tehran Times, adding, “The conditions are much more difficult in the Gaza Strip.”
‘Honor your obligation and stop violating JCPOA’
In his Friday tweet, Zarif also urged Germany to “honor your obligations under UNSCR2231 & stop violating JCPOA.”
“End YOUR malign behavior in OUR region: $100B arms sales to Persian Gulf & blind support for Israel terror,” Zarif added.
Zarif’s remarks came after Maas called for negotiations with Iran to conclude a broader nuclear deal next year.
Maas told weekly Der Spiegel that it was in the interest of the U.S. and Europeans to reach a broader agreement with Tehran.
“A return to the previous agreement will not be adequate in any case,” he said, referring to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the JCPOA.
“There should be a kind of a ‘nuclear agreement plus’ deal, which is also in the interest of us,” he added.
Maas expressed hope that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden would change Washington’s policy on Iran after taking office next month, and pave the way for talks on the nuclear deal.
“It is important to send out a signal, which would be decisive, on whether or not the United States would relax economic sanctions on Iran. Both sides should move forward, come closer. Time is running out because Iran will have presidential elections next year,” he said.
Outgoing President Donald Trump had unilaterally withdrawn the U.S. from the JCPOA two years ago, and intensified pressure on Tehran through the “toughest ever” economic sanctions.
The German foreign minister argued that a broader nuclear deal with Iran will be the best way to address concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities.
“We have clear expectations from Iran: No nuclear weapons, but also no ballistic missile program which threatens the entire region,” he said.
Iran has strongly rejected calls for talks on its missile program, saying its missile program was developed for defensive purposes.
Addressing the Rome Mediterranean Dialogues 2020 on Thursday, the Iranian foreign minister said the West can talk about other issues only if they stop “their malign behavior in the region” and “malign support” for the terrorist regime of Israel, otherwise they “have to shut up”.