Iranian medical scientists write to UN on U.S. sanctions against Iran

March 8, 2019

TEHRAN — Scientific Societies for Medical Sciences in Iran have written a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres condemning the U.S. sanctions against Iran, urging the international community to resist sanctions targeting “medical needs” and “humanitarian aid”, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif revealed on Wednesday.

 “Scientific Societies for Medical Sciences in Iran call on int'l community to: condemn U.S. sanctions on Iran; strongly resist the targeting of medical needs [and] humanitarian aid; and thwart targeting of research [and] scientific advancement,” Zarif wrote on his twitter account.

Following is the text of the letter:

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

February 23, 2019

H.E. Mr. António Guterres

Secretary-General of the United Nations

760 United Nations Plaza, New York, 10017

Your Excellency Mr. António Guterres:

The right to development and the right to gain knowledge and advance in science and technology is a basic and fundamental right of any society. Through tireless efforts, exchanges and sharing of knowledge and technology, humanity has advanced, enabling great strides for nations. The right of any nation to development, the right to education, health and scientific advancement and research cannot be undermined by unilateral coercive actions such as sanctions. Iran is a rapidly developing nation with a young and vibrant population. Human development index of Iran has increased from a score of 0.66 in 1998 to 0.8 in 2017, showing an average annual growth rate of 1.02 %. This is a composite index which illustrates a society's achievements in three basic aspects of human development-a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living. One of the hallmarks of this development has been in the field of education, science and technology. According to the Spectator Index, Iran ranked 16 among the world co research institutions in 2018. In recent years the growth in Iran's scientific output has been reported to be among the fastest in the world. Iran has made great strides in medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical, as well as other areas of basic and applied sciences, thus serving humanity and contributing to global scientific advancement.

In 2017, President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Nuclear Deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCOPA), a multilateral international agreement that was endorsed by the UN Security Council resolution number 2231. The US President Administration imposed a series of unjustified coercive embargoes and sanctions against our nation, curbing our economic and scientific growth and undermining the basic rights of the Iranian nation. These so-called 'debilitating sanctions' have deliberately targeted our patients, healthcare sectors, academic research centers, healthcare providers, medical equipment suppliers, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) providers, pharmaceutical equipment suppliers and health regulators leading to extensive shortages of lifesaving medical supplies and drugs.

Over 2000 Iranian academic and research centers are currently engaged in scientific exchange with the global community, joint research and publications. Iran hosts many international research centers and dozens of international scientific congresses are held in Iran annually. Recently reports coming from the academia indicate that certain publishers are rejecting government-funded research papers or indicate a non-preference for publication of Iranian research papers on grounds other than scientific standards. This politicisation of science and imposition of discriminatory regulations against Iranian scientists and academia is unprecedented and unwarranted.

We scholars, scientists, academics and students of 66 Iranian Scientific Societies for Medical Sciences call on the international community to condemn U.S. embargoes on Iran and to act strongly against sanctions targeting medical needs and humanitarian aid as well as sanctions targeting research and scientific advancement.

Iranian nation has been an active part of the international community in promoting human wisdom and knowledge during history and it supports peace and stability in the volatile Middle East and the rest of the world. In the 21st century, it is expected that the scientific community respects the rights of all individuals of all nations and refrain from actions that affect the principal rights of a nation. In this regard, the worst facet of these debilitating sanctions is deprivation a nations' scientists, which are indeed accounted as a true wealth of humanity, from serving humanity and contributing to global scientific advancement. Conscious ignorance of the scientific community to unmanly unilateral sanctions will deprive not only Iran but also the entire world from scientific achievements of humanity.

Medical scientific associations of Iran as non-governmental organizations not only consider these improper demeanors as a disrespect and insult to scientific community but also take them into account as a dark spot in the history of the global health development and diplomacy. In this regard, we request his Excellency and all of respected world's scientists to condemn these inhuman and medieval actions and take necessary measures to lift these coercive and unmanly sanctions.

We expect that the conscience of the scientific community will respond positively and encourage the Iranian scientists and scholars to continue their contribution to the advancement of knowledge and science.

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