News ID: 263806
Published: 0411 GMT January 01, 2020

Minister complains to WHO over US bans on Iran access to medicine

Minister complains to WHO over US bans on Iran access to medicine
An 8-year-old boy with from liver cancer plays in the corridors of the Mahak Hospital and Rehabilitation Complex, Tehran, on June 19, 2019.

The Iranian health minister has, in a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), criticized international organizations for not taking sufficient measures to help save lives of Iranian patients in the face of unilateral US sanctions.

“Hundreds of Iranian children with mucopolysaccharidosis whose medications cannot be supplied are at risk of dying," referring to a disorder in breaking down sugar molecules, Saeed Namaki said in the letter to the WHO head, Tedros Adhanom.

"As you know, Iran has become the victim of an economic war waged by the US Washington's sanctions have made it impossible to supply medication and medical equipment to Iranians," the letter said as reported by Fars News Agency.

Addressing WHO chief, the minister wrote that “following my earlier letter dated 17 November, 2019, the situation has aggravated and the international community, specially the UN representatives, have done nothing in this respect”.

He added the US government claims that the sanctions do not include medicines, foodstuff and medical equipment, but it has blocked almost all of Iran's financial transactions via international banking.

Limited access to medicine has frustrated Iranian patients and their families, especially after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018. The deal signed in 2015 between Iran and six world powers (Germany, France, UK, Russia, China and the US) eased sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran scaling back its nuclear stockpiles and manufacturing activities.

The US withdrawal led to the return of economic, trade and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

While the United States insists that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, restrictions on trade have made many banks and companies across the world hesitant to do business with Iran, fearing punitive measures from Washington. The country is cut off from international banking system. Restrictions on payment for medications or equipment, in addition to problems of shipping goods to and from Iran, have made it more difficult to get quick and widespread access to medicine.

Nuclear medicine, essential for PET scan diagnosis testing, is especially at risk since it is linked with Iran’s nuclear energy industry.

Iran has always been after constructive and dignified interaction with the world based on mutual respect, Namaki said, condemning the US exit from the JCPOA unilaterally and reinstating sanctions on Iran.


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