US sanctions against Iran’s health sector crime against humanity: Health minister
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US sanctions against Iran’s health sector crime against humanity: Health minister

The Iranian minister made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart, Jamil Jabak, in Tehran on Monday, saying, “Measures taken by the US administration in banning [access to] medicines needed by Iranian patients and pressures mounted by Washington on Iran's health sector amount to crime against humanity.”   Last year, President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Tehran.   Officially, the sanctions exempt humanitarian goods, such as medicine and medicinal instruments. But in reality, the measures have restricted Iran's access to medical and health services.   Last November, the Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council (IRIMC) said illegal economic sanctions have negative impacts on the country’s health sector.   Elsewhere in his remarks, Namaki said imposing sanctions on health and medical sector of any country is illogical and inhumane, emphasizing, however, that “at the present time, we produce 97 of medicines needed by [Iranian] patients inside the country and we are facing problems for the supply of only three percent of medications.”   “Despite the US pressures, medicines needed by all patients have been supplied. We are also planning, in cooperation with Iranian knowledge-based companies and young scientists, to meet all our medical needs within the country in coming years and become needless of imports,” the Iranian minister added.   Namaki stated that there is enough raw materials for producing medicines inside the country and Iran does not rely on other countries in this regard.   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.   Scholars, scientists and academics of 66 Iranian scientific societies highlighted that the unilateral US bans have “deliberately targeted” patients, healthcare sectors, academic research centers, healthcare providers, medical equipment suppliers, active pharmaceutical ingredients providers, pharmaceutical equipment suppliers and heath regulators.   The Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran also wrote to the UN to complain about the illegal sanctions imposed by the US against the Iranian nation, saying the restrictive measures have adversely affected the medical treatment of Iranian patients.   In the letter, which was addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Academy’s President Alireza Marandi said that he had previously written to the world body in condemnation of the “unjust” US sanctions targeting the Iranian people.   “These sanctions as mentioned in previous letters have led to many obstacles in providing all kinds of medicine and equipment needed for the medical treatment of the Iranian population,” he wrote in the letter.   The Lebanese minister, for his part, said his country is eager to import medicines from Iran and promised to facilitate the process of imports for the Lebanese private companies.   Jabak said, “We consider sanctions against Iran unjust and stop at no limits in cooperation with Iran.”   The Lebanese minister emphasized that “if sanctions bar Iranian people's access to medicines and foodstuff, they would be crime against humanity and would be faced with widespread global opposition.”   At the end of the press conference, the two countries’ health ministers signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding for cooperation in all medical fields, including production of medicines, medical equipment, medical education, as well as research and development.  

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