Middle East Desk
TEHRAN: An Iranian senior security official on Sunday said that the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, internationally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will die if a UN arms embargo against Iran is extended under U.S. pressures. “The JCPOA will die forever by circumventing UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and continuing Iran’s illegal weapons sanctions,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani tweeted on Sunday.
“Sanctions’ virus is the U.S. tool for survival of its declining hegemony,” said Shamkhani. He also urged the European partners to the deal for their action in the face of U.S. pressures, adding that “what will EU do: save dignity and support multilateralism or accept humiliation and help unilateralism?”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington was considering “every possibility” to renew a UN Security Council ban on selling conventional arms to Iran which will end in six months’ time. Iranian government on Saturday threatened that in case the arms embargo against Iran is extended, it will trigger a “harsh” response from the country.
Iran plans to reopen mosques and schools in areas that have been consistently free of the coronavirus as President Hassan Rouhani’s government starts to ease restrictions that were aimed at containing the outbreak. With mosques closed and religious gatherings banned since mid-March as the outbreak spread in the Middle East’s worst-hit country, ordinary Iranians have turned to drive-ins for ceremonies during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. State TV and videos on social media showed people in their cars watching a religious ceremony on a big screen in a Tehran car park.
However, all these steps will be taken by respecting the health protocols,” Rouhani said in a televised meeting. Iran’s health ministry has divided the country into white, yellow and red areas based on the number of infections and deaths.
The ministry said on Saturday that the trajectory of infections has started a “gradual” downward trend in Iran. On Sunday the health ministry said the country’s coronavirus death toll had risen to 6,203 and the total number of diagnosed cases had reached 97,424. Iran has already lifted a ban on inter-city trips and malls, with large shopping centres resuming activities despite warnings by some health officials of a new wave of infections. School and university closures were maintained and cultural and sports gatherings are also still banned, though Rouhani said the plan is for some schools to reopen soon.
“The schools in the white and low-risk areas will reopen from May 16.