Shameless: American Sanctions hit Ordinary Iranians’ Access to Medicine

American and European sanctions contribute to the difficulties ordinary Iranians in getting medicine and affording it.

Channel 4 News reports

The National Iranian American Council explains:

” NIAC Policy Memo: Why are U.S. sanctions blocking medicine for Iranians and how can we fix this?

By: NIAC Staff

Beginning in 2012, there have been widespread reports that U.S. and European sanctions on Iran, in addition to Iranian government mismanagement, have created shortages of life-saving medicine in Iran, including drugs needed to treat cancer, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, thalassemia and some other severe ailments.

There are several Executive Order sanctions under which Iran’s international banks are sanctioned, notably Executive Order 13224 (terrorism) and Executive Order 13382 (proliferation). Any financial institution, foreign or domestic, risks being cut off from the U.S. financial system if it does any business with these banks.

While Congress has consistently exempted medicine from legislative sanctions, and the Treasury has issued a general license exempting the sale of medicine and medical devices from Iran trade sanctions, the exemption does not apply to financial transactions directly or indirectly involving banks designated under these executive orders.

If a prohibited Iranian bank is indirectly involved in any permitted transaction, such as by providing foreign currency to the Iranian bank carrying out the transaction, there is a strong risk of incurring sanctions. Therefore, the general licenses for food and medicine are effectively superseded by the Executive Orders that block transactions with Iran’s international banks.

Additionally, if financial institutions facilitate any authorized transactions that involve Iran, these banks are now required to publicly report this to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission—incurring potential negative publicity related to perfectly legal, humanitarian transactions.

The sanctions and reputational risks have deterred all U.S. banks and nearly all foreign financial institutions from facilitating even authorized humanitarian transactions.

Additionally, Executive Order 13599 was implemented to enforce the 2012 National Defense Authorization (NDAA), which required the president to block transactions with all Iranian financial institutions. Accordingly, EO 13599 adds all Iranian financial institutions to the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions blacklist (the Specially Designated Nationals List, or “SDN” list).

Humanitarian trade is still authorized with the small Iranian financial institutions that became sanctioned under Executive Order 13599. However, the inclusion of these institutions on the SDN list has led most international banks to cut all transactions with them anyway.

The result is that, because all humanitarian trade with Iran carries risk for foreign financial institutions, only the biggest and most lucrative transactions are carried out. Even the banks most willing to facilitate humanitarian transactions simply view transactions that are not for tens of millions of dollars as inviting too much risk for too little potential reward.

Potential Solutions:

The Administration should open banking channels for authorized transactions by providing third country banks a blanket waiver that they will not be sanctioned for facilitating legitimate humanitarian transactions.

Alternatively, the Administration could heed the recommendation of a recent Atlantic Council report by “[d]esignating a small number of US and private Iranian financial institutions as channels for payment for humanitarian, educational, and public diplomacy-related transactions carefully licensed by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.” This measure would completely cut out the need to use foreign banks as intermediaries.’

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Mirrored from The National Iranian-American Council

6 Responses

  1. We are a bit crazy on logic with sanctions. Remember Iraq before the ’03 invasion? The only ones (people) who were affected were the; namely women and children (primarily) and generally average citizens.
    We’ve lost something important in our metric of humane behavior. We now share a bed with despots…

  2. Mehdi Mohamadzadeh, Head of Iran’s Association of Pharmaceutical Medicine Economics in an interview with the official Fars News Agency said “Of course we are in a dire economic situation, but with regards to medicine, there are no sanctions against us and the world’s large pharmaceuticals are not reluctant to sell medicine to us. They are willing to co-operate, so long as they get paid”

    Mohamadzadeh who is also a member of the Medical Sciences Scientific Committee at Beheshti University added “The cause of the crisis is that either very little government rate currency is allocated or it is paid late.”

    Mohamadzadeh’s statements are in tune with what the rest of Iranian medicine officials, including the former Health Minister, Marzieh Dastjerdi, have said repeatedly. “Medicine crisis in Iran is nothing to do with sanctions” as former Health Minister kept saying before she was sacked by Ahmadinejad. All the officials who are involved in the medicine import to Iran have been pinpointing the problem at medicine import companies, not receiving the allocated government rate currency to import the drugs with. The government rate currency is instead used to import luxury cars and non-essential goods like horse saddles, cosmetics and spade handles.

    Deputy Health Minister, Hassan Emami Razavi:

    “Although there is debate about drug shortages, the needed drugs are procured. One should not base judgment on hearsay.”

    Deputy head of Iranian Customs, Mohammad-Reza Naderi:

    “330 tons of medicine is languishing at Tehran airport”

  3. Yes it is like this usa always act like this ! Speack about humans but only humans that are on usa side! It is american dream!!!

  4. And a few years from now if “60 Minutes” interviews Hillary Clinton or John Kerry about the deaths of thousands of Iranian children attributable to the sanctions they will inevitably borrow from Madeline Albright and say, “It was worth it.”

  5. My senator from SC said this to a group of Christians? Yeah, Christians United for Israel whooped it up when Graham suggested he would push for another war. Oh goody!

    “If nothing changes in Iran, come September, October, I will present a resolution that will authorize the use of military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb,” Graham told a “cheering” audience at a conference put on by the right-wing group Christians United for Israel…

    “The only way to convince Iran to halt their nuclear program is to make it clear that we will take it out,” Graham said, echoing comments he made last week, calling the war authorization “the last card to play in a very dangerous situation.”

    Graham did not inform these giddy war mongers the day after Iran is bombed, they will be paying $10 to $15 a gallon for gasoline. That will take the wind out of their sails.

  6. The senate, supposedly the world’s greatest deliberative body, voted unanimously to increase sanctions on Iran. Presumably, this was in obeisance to the dictat of the Israeli lobby. This should be great cause for concern when the lobby gets otherwise admirable senators such as Merkley, Warren and Sanders to sell out for something they surely don’t really believe in.

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