SHAFAQNA | By Leila Yazdani: The US sanctions on Iran lead to a humanitarian disaster. These Sanctions are silent killing, especially for those who are dealing with chronic diseases or emergency disorders. All these sufferings occurred in spite of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights covenants, which guaranteed access to health services, medicine, food, and other essential goods to every human being.
The right to health is accepted as an essential human right. But the evidence is undeniable, the U.S. sanctions are leading to immediate deaths and suffering of the Iranian population.
The US administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on May 2018, increased attention to the impact of sanctions on the health of more than 80 million Iranians.
In late October, Human Rights Watch released a short report with a sharp title—“Maximum Pressure: The US Economic Sanctions Harm Iranians’ Right to Health.” Human Rights Watch is not the first to document this serious situation. The unilateral U.S. sanctions in the Obama period had already badly damaged the health of Iranians.
Iranian children suffering from EB lose their lives
Hamid Reza Hashemi-Golayegani, the Head of the NGO that helps such patients, said on Sunday that at least 15 Iranian children with epidermolysis bullosa (EB) have died since the US launched its new sanctions on Iran in August, according to press tv.
That is because Swedish medical companies which provided protective bandages for such patients have halted supplies due to the restrictions, he said.
EB is an inherited symptom that causes fragile skin which is easily blistered when exposed to the slightest pressure or friction. They often have difficulty with their daily activities, such as walking, eating and even breathing, but without proper protective bandages, their agony would be heartbreaking.
Since the reimposition of sanctions, Swedish medical products firm Molnlycke Health Care has stopped delivering Mepilex dressings which are trusted around the world to treat a wide range of chronic and acute wounds, including in EB patients, Iranian media reports say.
Iran’s Health Ministry in the past years have provided the products free of charge, but the US sanctions impost Iran since May 2018 has prevented the company from selling the product to Iran, The Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
How U.S. Sanctions on Iran Are Killing Innocent People?
The U.S. sanctions have been a major feature of the U.S. Iran policy since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, but in November 2018, a year ago, the U.S. renewed its unilateral sanctions against Iran, and included “secondary sanctions” on non-U.S. entities. These secondary sanctions choked off Iran’s ability to commercially buy many products, including crucial medical supplies.
Previous round of sanctions led to the shortages of medicine in the country.
Then the UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki Moon cautioned in 2012 that “sanctions imposed on Iran have had significant effects on the general population including shortage of necessary items including medicine.”
Today’s integrated and interconnected world depends on banking systems and trade networks that are dominated by the United States. Consequently, the U.S. government is able to use economic sanctions to cause harm to economic, political, and even social relations in target countries with relative ease.
While Trump administration officials continue to insist that food and medicine are exempt from US sanctions, and that sanctions do not hurt the Iranian people, evidence suggests that unilateral sanctions are collectively punishing the Iranian population by denying them adequate and reliable access to medicine.
It is also worth noting that despite the fact that sanctions exempted humanitarian goods, the US Treasury Department had previously prosecuted medical companies for selling small amounts of medical supplies to Iran, which in turn, has had a deterring effect on other companies doing business with Tehran.
Last month, the U.S. Department of State released a video addressed to the people of Iran. In the video, Trump administration official Brian Hook claims that it is a “myth” that sanctions target Iran’s access to medicine Foreignpolicy told. But it is clear that the harms being inflicted on Iranian patients are not mythology.
The harsh sanctions are increasingly affecting vulnerable patients. Procurement of the most advanced life-saving medicines and their chemical raw materials from the United States and Europe has been particularly challenging. European companies refuse to do business with Iran, fearing secondary American sanctions.
The difficulties in holding license for export of medicine, financial transaction, and shipment as well as fear of possible U.S. sanction by pharmaceutical companies and international banks, led to the shortage of specific drugs and medical facilities in last months.
The impact is being felt by more than six million patients suffering from complex diseases such as hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, thalassemia, epilepsy, and various immunological disorders, as well as transplant and kidney dialysis patients and those being treated for cancer.
Last November, the Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council (IRIMC) said illegal economic sanctions have negative impacts on the country’s health sector.
In a tweet in early March 2019, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that 66 Iranian scientific medical societies had written to the UN chief in condemnation of the “inhumane and medieval” American sanctions targeting Iran’s health sector.
Human Rights Watch reiterated what humanitarian agencies have been saying over this past year, which is that banks refuse to allow their services to be used to transfer money even for humanitarian reasons.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the principal judicial organ of the United Nations – ordered the US in October 2018 to halt the unilateral sanctions it had reimposed on “humanitarian” supplies to Iran.
Over the course of the past several years, the medical journal The Lancet has run a series of important studies of the deteriorating health conditions in Iran as a result of the unilateral U.S. sanctions, Commondreams told.
A year ago, Dr. Seyed Alireza Marandi, the president of Iran’s Academy of Medical Sciences, wrote one of many letters to the UN secretary-general. He pointed out that patients who require organ transplants and who have cancer are being “deliberately denied medicine and medical equipment.” There has been no public answer to these letters.
The U.S. government in fact has a strategy to attack the Iranian people. The United Nations has repeatedly said that sanctions are not a humane policy and must no longer be allowed to be part of the arsenal of the powerful nations.