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The humanitarian aspect of the conflict between Iran and the United States

“What the Iranians are experiencing is an atmosphere of war without being shot, as there are patients who lose their lives due to lack of medicine and high prices.” This is what one investigator observed during his tour of major pharmacies in Tehran, during which he documented the patients queuing up and suffering in search of expensive medicine as a result of US sanctions.

All Iranian patients were affected by the US sanctions, as they increased their treatment costs due to a noticeable increase in the prices in the health sector. But patients with difficult-to-treat diseases are the most affected, led by the one million cancer patients, thalassemia and hemophilia (hematology), kidney failure, multiple sclerosis (encephalitis), and bulbous epidermolysis (a group of genetic disorders EB). The number of patients is close to 200,000 people, and also includes MPS patients (hereditary diseases caused by a defect in the part responsible for burning unwanted substances inside cells). Patients with liver, heart, pancreas, intestinal and lung transplantation, some heart diseases, and Parkinson’s, according to what was confirmed by the head of the Special Diseases Department in Wazar Iranian health.

Acute shortage

These items are medicines imported from abroad, or Iranian homemade medicines, whose raw materials are imported from abroad. However, Iranian companies and factories face major problems and difficulties in importing these materials after the US sanctions, which has led to a major impact in patients with chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and thalassemia. 

They are suffering even more from the crisis caused by US sanctions in the Iranian health sector. They now suffer from not only their chronic medical conditions, but also from these two things: life-threatening risks to their health due to lack of medicines, and the high costs of treatment, despite government support, according to what the investigator has monitored through his sources.

The increase in the price of medicines ranged between 100% and 300% during the period from May 2018 to October 2019, according to what was monitored by the investigator of the drug market in Tehran. For example, the price of 100 glycyclamide used to lower blood sugar rose from 3,000 tomans before the sanctions to 7,000 tomans after that.

The total value of imported medicines and medical equipment annually is $ 3 billion, and the Iranian government provides this amount to importers at a government price of 42,000 rials per dollar, while the price in the free or black market sometimes reached 180,000 rials, before it retracts and settles at 115,000 rials.

It appears that the US sanctions on Iran are beginning to have repercussions on millions of Iranian people. Some families have begun to share stories about the “devastating” impact of these sanctions on their daily lives.

An analysis – written by Bettan McKiernan of the British newspaper “The Independent” – indicates that more than 80 million ordinary citizens are beginning to feel uneasy as the value of the rial (national currency) falls and food and rental prices rise, and supplies of imported vital medicines are running low. Reimposing sanctions on Iran has already proven more successful than expected.

As for the American citizen of Iranian origin, Mary – who left Tehran in 1981 – says that she is still suffering from the nightmare of old travel penalties, which means that she will not be given the opportunity to see her father personally before his death. This citizen works in two jobs to be able to support her sister, whose son suffers from cerebral palsy in Iran.

Mary insists that US sanctions prevent her nephew from receiving better care after a car accident, and they are preparing to face the impact of the new sanctions on his treatment. She also says that she is angry at everything that is happening and that she fears the Iranian people. It adds that President Hassan Rouhani, Murshid Ali Khamenei and all the mullahs or any other power group are not affected by these “terrible” games that politicians play.