Iranian Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar has written a letter to the women political leaders of the world, highlighting the impact of the US sanctions on Iran’s ability to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
What follows is the full text of her letter:
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge of epic proportions. The pandemic knows no borders, ethnicity race or religion. This crisis requires a unified and concerted response among states and civil society to save lives and livelihoods. Ongoing conflicts and military actions worldwide need to cease immediately and economic sanctions should be unconditionally lifted to enable local and international actors to intervene to provide necessary medical services and equipment to help alleviate the social and economic burdens of this pandemic on families and livelihoods.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been facing the most brutal economic sanctions in history during the past months. These sanctions have impeded not only our economic growth and capacity to deal with the social requirements of employment but have also prevented the flow of necessary pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. The COVID-19 outbreak in Iran has been compounded by the economic sanctions and terrorism against my country. Health workers and medical personnel, a large proportion of whom are women physicians, nurses and hospital staff in Iran have served relentlessly to combat this disease and sacrificed to save lives. Additionally, Iranian women have taken a leading role in protecting their families and encouraging social distancing. They have also mobilized entrepreneurs to produce medical commodities such as face masks and surgical gowns for our hospitals.
Nevertheless, the pressures of terrible sanctions are taking their toll on our people. Echoing the voice of Iranian women and families, I hereby invite you to take action and to voice your objection to the continued illegal economic sanctions against my people by the US government. Our shared humanity requires that we stand together unified and that we resist oppression. The Iranian people will inscribe your position at this sensitive juncture in their hearts.
I await your action and response on this vital and urgent matter.
Vice President for Women and Family Affairs in the I.R. of Iran