Sanctions on Iran have affected import of food, medicine

November 18, 2018 - 20:9

TEHRAN – It has been repeatedly claimed by Trump administration’s officials that sanctions against Iran do not include food and medicine, however, the sanctions have restricted transfer of money which affects importation of food and medicine.

Adnan Mousapour, the head of Iran-Qatar chamber of commerce, has told ISNA that the U.S. sanctions has targeted the people’s living conditions.

The sanctions target both the private and state sectors, and items which are related to the people’s living, Mousapour lamented.

Farhad Ehteshamzad, the head of Iran Auto Importers Association, also told ISNA that foreign banks refrain from interacting with Iran, because of fearing from being punished by the U.S. which also impedes importing certain commodities such as food and medicine.

Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for Iran’s Food and Drug Administration, told ISNA in an interview published on November 13 that the claim by Washington that medicine is exempted from sanctions is a “big clear lie”.

Sanctions include food and medicine and the only point is that these two items have not been mentioned in the sanctions list announced by the Trump administration, he said.

In a tweet on November 12, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that “the U.S. does not, and never did, sanction food and medicine. They are exempt from sanctions.”

Jahanpour said, “Pompeo’s remarks are clear lies. In the issue of medicine, it is not just the raw material that matters, money transfer is also very important.”

Limits on financial transactions cause problems in the process of buying and producing medicine, Jahanpour added.

Sanctions on Iran are already choking off medicine imports: Washington Post

In an article on Saturday the Washington Post said the U.S. sanctions on Iranian financial firms, including a bank that until recently handled most payments for Iran’s imports of humanitarian goods, are having a chilling effect on foreign companies that help supply medicine and other medical products.

The far-reaching sanctions on Iranian financial firms reimposed two weeks ago could endanger the flow of humanitarian goods as foreign banks and outside suppliers abandon business ties with their partners in Iran, analysts and experts warn. In recent months, some European banks have refused to process payments even from Iranian firms that are exempt from sanctions out of fear of U.S. penalties, according to people familiar with the transactions.

The Trump administration last month imposed sanctions on Parsian Bank, one of Iran’s most reputable private-sector institutions.

Policy analysts and sanctions experts say Parsian processed much of Iran’s humanitarian trade transactions and was trusted by European firms. It was one of the Iranian banks whose anti-money-laundering procedures were up to international standards, said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, an expert on business relations between Iran and Western countries.

On Twitter this past week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted letters he indicated were from four European pharmaceutical companies announcing the end of their business activities in Iran. 

The Post said Iran has a large pharmaceutical industry of its own but imports some of the raw materials needed to produce medication.

Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul has Pompeo’s recent threat to “starve” Iranian people through economic pressure was a rare instance of truthfulness in America’s foreign policy, Press TV reported on November 13.

In the latest episode of his online show “Liberty Report,” Paul said Pompeo’s remarks were important because not often American leaders tend to reveal Washington’s true intentions.

Earlier, the U.S. secretary of state had told the BBC Persian that Iranian officials must listen to Washington “if they want their people to eat”.

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