IRCS, Austrian Red Cross Seeking Enhanced Cooperation

TEHRAN/VIENNA, 18 November 2020 (IRCS) - Iranian Red Crescent Society ‎‎(IRCS) President Karim Hemmati and Austrian Red Cross Society Secretary ‎General Michael Opriesnig discussed expanding cooperation to combat Covid-‎‎19 and IRCS experiences in health services to African countries.‎

In the meeting, held via video conference on November 17, Dr Hemmati noted the Iranian Red Crescent’s efforts to combat Covid-19 despite harsh sanctions.

“Coronavirus has hit all the countries in the world while the situation in Iran is more difficult due to the harsh US sanctions and despite the fact that the costs of providing medicine and medical items are provided, it is very difficult to supply some of the required medicines and medical items to tackle Covid-19 in Iran,” said IRCS president.

He also referred to the Red Crescent’s actions during the Covid-19 pandemic in Iran including measuring the fever of passengers and travelers on the country's arteries, providing training tips on Covid-19 on social networks and the establishment of 7,000 posts to monitor implementation of Covid-19 regulations across the country.

Expressing optimism that the Socities of Iran and Austria could enhance their cooperation in relief and rescue areas, Dr Hemamti appreciated the Austrian Red Cross’ contributions to Iranian flood-affected families.

He said:“Nothing will last between countries except for friendship, and we hope that such friendships will remain stronger between Iran and Austria.”

For his part, Austrian Red Cross Society Secretary General emphasized that sanctions against the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies were contrary to internationally recognized protocols, saying:“We tried to lift the sanctions on the Iranian Red Crescent, but to no avail.”

“We worked through the Austrian government to help Iran regarding Covid-19, and we hope to be able to solve the problems through the Red Cross,” said Mr Michael Opriesnig.

“Our second step will be to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Human Resources Committee to provide in-kind assistance. Austria was one of the first countries to assist Iran in the issue of corona through the World Health Organization. The third stage is signing of a memorandum of understanding, which will be very suitable for future cooperation. Iran has provided good services to African countries, and we will use Iran's experience to help these countries,” he added.

Iranian Red Crescent has had close relationship with Austria in the past and there had been an MOU on dealing with natural disasters which was effective untill 2018.

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