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Iran sanctions putting patients' lives in danger

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Head of Iran's Charity Foundation for Special Diseases says international sanctions are threatening the lives of 6 million patients suffering from special diseases.

Fatemeh Hashemi said on October 16 to Tabnak News Website that "finding medical equipment with the fluctuating rate of foreign currencies has created grave difficulties for patients suffering from special diseases."

An earlier statement by the Minister of Health also indicated that the necessary foreign currency for the import of pharmaceuticals has not been supplied by the government for the first six months of the year.

The Special Diseases Foundation is an independent non-profit organization which reportedly has advisory roles in the United Nations. The foundation covers patients suffering from Thalassemia and Hemophilia as well those in need of Dialysis. The foundation also covers cancer and MS patients.

Ms. Hashemi reported that the most problematic so far is providing medication for cancer and MS patients. She added that the problems stem from the financial sanctions on Iran.

She went on to report that in terms of patients in need of dialysis they face shortages of disposable equipment.

Fatemeh Hashemi said that she has written to Ban Ki-moon to indicate how the lives of Iranian patients are in danger stressing that the sanctions are "a violation of human rights."

She recognized that the UN Secretary General has referred to the current approach as a "violation fo human rights" but she insisted that this reaction is not sufficient saying: "as the UN head he is responsible for following up this matter."

She added that all the goods reported on by the foundation are used only for the clear purpose of treating patients and there are no double uses for such items.

E.U. and U.S. sanctions have laid heavy sanctions on financial transactions with Iran claiming they are aimed at halting Iran's nuclear porgram.

Hashemi proposed that the WHO could organize a way of making transactions with Iran's Bank of Agriculture which is not under sanctions and is already linked to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations so that medical equipment and medication can be paid for through this bank and imported into Iran.

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