Urgent action needed to lift medical bans on Iran, physician tells WHO

February 26, 2020 - 14:7

TEHRAN - A top Iranian physician and media activist has urged the World Health Organization to take urgent action to help lift medical sanctions against Iran as the country is struggling to contain a rapid outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“Humanity demands action today; otherwise, the vulnerable will pay the price,” Dr. Abolfazl Fateh said in a letter to WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Following is the text of the letter:

As you are aware COVID-19 has placed the world in a dangerous epidemic and all the forecasts indicate the very fast spread of the virus. As the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency on 31st January, it seems that we are only just dealing with the tip of the iceberg. News from Iran indicates that so far, tens, probably even hundreds of people have been infected with COVID-19.

Iran has an advanced healthcare capacity and system however, as you are aware, the country is under unprecedented and extreme sanctions put in place by the United States of America. Due to the harsh conditions and the spread of the population of 80 million in such a large territory, along with its borders; it is evident that they are short of the required resources and equipment for diagnosis, prevention and treatment, especially laboratory kits, masks N-95, protective gowns for medical staff, ambulances, specialised medicines, antiseptics, and appropriate medical supplies; in addition, there is also a need for the latest information on successful trials in combating this virus.

Health, hygiene, and access to medical care are the fundamental rights of all human beings regardless of race, religion, and nationality.

As an Iranian physician and senior media activist residing outside of Iran, I sincerely seek your urgent attention for the sanctions on providing healthcare support, drugs, medical laboratory kits and preventive equipment to be lifted immediately.

Iranians living outside the country are willing to send humanitarian support in such a difficult situation for the impacted population, however, due to the sanctions, it is not possible to do so.

It must be brought to the attention of other global organizations not to overrule healthcare rights through political considerations.

I firmly believe this is the request of a vast majority of Iranians living abroad.

Clearly, any delay in removing the sanctions on healthcare support will result in countless innocent and vulnerable people losing their lives.

It is our humane duty to do the right thing immediately and not to carry over the tragic consequences.

Humanity demands action today; otherwise, the vulnerable will pay the price.

I sincerely hope that you take the action needed to combat the sanctions on healthcare that Iran faces, and do not let health care become politicized and the political pressure takes innocent lives.

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