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Iranian Charity: Sanctions Hurting Health of Millions of Patients

"For anyone or any group to say that sanctions don't target people is childish," says Fatemeh Hashemi of the Foundation for Special Diseases

- Common Dreams staff

The western-imposed sanctions on Iran are creating a health crisis on the country, according to a leading medical charity in Iran.

While the purported goal of the economic sanctions is to stop Iran from pursuing alleged nuclear bomb making capabilities, the effects are being felt on ordinary citizens.

"For anyone or any group to say that sanctions don't target people is childish," Fatemeh Hashemi of the Foundation for Special Diseases tells Al Jazeera. "It's a human rights issue," she says.

Al Jazeera reports:

A leading medical charity in Iran has said Western sanctions are having an adverse effect on the health of up to six million patients.

Though the Western-backed sanctions are not meant to target the nation's healthcare industry, the Foundation for Special Diseases says the restrictions have made it more difficult to import medicine and equipment into the country.

Middle East analyst Juan Cole has written that

for sanctions to ‘work,’ they would have to have the effect of deterring the Iranian state from purusing its nuclear enrichment program. There is no such evidence, and the likelihood is that regime officials will be cushioned from the sanctions because they control the state-owned oil company and can siphon off money to protect themselves.

Severe sanctions almost never work in producing regime change or even in altering major policies of regimes. In Iraq, the severe sanctions of the 1990s actually destroyed the middle classes and eviscerated civil and political society, leaving Iraqis more at the mercy of the authoritarian Baath Party of Saddam Hussein than ever before. The high Baath officials squirreled away $30 billion during the oil for food program, cushioning themselves But the sanctions that denied Iraqis chlorine imports disabled the water purification plants, giving the whole country constant diarrhea, a condition that easily kills infants and toddlers. Some 500,000 Iraqi children are estimated to have been killed this way.

The chorus for continuing the sanctions on Iran, however, remains strong.  The EU and the U.S. on Tuesday vowed to continue the sanctions.  France's President Hollande met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and both issued calls for increased sanctions.  Netanyahu called for "even tougher sanctions," and Hollande said France "is ready to vote for other sanctions, as many as necessary."

Al Jazeera's Soraya Lennie reports from Tehran in the video below:

Iran's hospitals feel pain of sanctions:  Difficulties in importing medicine and equipment having adverse affect on health of up to six million patients.

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