Martyr Soleimani made efforts to bypass U.S. medicine sanctions: health minister

January 7, 2020 - 18:17

TEHRAN - Over the past year, martyr Qassem Soleimani supported and made efforts to bypass the sanctions imposed by the U.S. so that people do not feel lack of medicine and medical equipment, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on Monday.

Soleimani, the IRGC Quds Force commander, was martyred in a U.S. terrorist assault in Baghdad on January 3.

After the U.S. government imposed new sanctions on Iran, despite their lies about not sanctioning medicine, food and medical equipment, they put the highest pressure on us to procure medicine and medical equipment, he lamented.

“I wrote two letters to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom to inform him of the American crime against humanity. 

However, General Soleimani was the one who helped greatly to import medicine in different ways,” he explained.

Although food and medicine are claimed to be exempted from the U.S. sanctions, financial and banking sanctions have limited the life-saving medicine trade which harshly targeted the patients suffering from rare diseases.

Exemptions for humanitarian trade (such as food, medicine, and medical equipment) have not been effective in protecting Iranian patients from access to imported medicine, such as the bandages used for patients suffering Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disease that causes painful blistering of the skin.

With the return of sanctions, over a year (May 2018-May 2019), 15 patients covered by EB Health House lost their lives, including Ava, a two-year-old girl in Ahvaz city, who died of infection and lack of skincare.

Companies exclusively producing medicine for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) patients, such as BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. of the U.S. and a South Korean company, have refused to export these drugs to Iran, threatening the lives of 335 patients in Iran.

Moreover, medicine needed for patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and certain rare diseases that are only made by American pharmaceutical companies, are not imported to the country.

On November 17, Namaki in separate letters to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, urged the international community to break the silence on inhumane sanctions imposed by the United States against the country.

But so far no action has been taken by the international community and it has remained silent on this cruel act of the U.S.