Iran

US cutting WHO funding hampers global fight against pandemic: Rouhani

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says a recent decision by the administration of US President Donald Trump to stop funding the World Health Organization (WHO) at a time that the world body is fighting a pandemic of new coronavirus hampers global efforts to eradicate the deadly virus.

“At a time that the coronavirus has turned into a common threat to international security and public health and the WHO is on the forefront of the global fight against the coronavirus threat, undermining the WHO amounts to weakening the joint global fight against the coronavirus, which is an ill-timed and unjustifiable measure,” Iran’s president said while addressing a virtual meeting of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group on Monday.

Rouhani added, “The hasty and irresponsible measure taken by the US administration to deprive the WHO of necessary funds must be considered another strategic mistake by this administration, which challenges the collective global fight against coronavirus.”

US President Trump on April 14 halted funding to the WHO, accusing the international body of mishandling the deadly flu-like pathogen.

“Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said in a news briefing in Washington.

In another virulent attack on the UN health agency, the US president claimed the WHO had failed to disclose or respond to “credible” information in December that suggested the virus could be spread through human-to-human transmission.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed regret over the US president’s decision to cut funding and said, “This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat. When we are divided, the coronavirus exploits the cracks between us.”

He also reiterated that the UN body is reviewing the possible impacts of the US president’s decision, adding that the organization would work with its partners “to fill any financial gaps” and to ensure its activities will continue uninterrupted.

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