Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi was reacting to allegations made by Western governments that Iran could not purchase drugs due to financial restrictions and that no sanctions have been imposed on the purchase of medicine by Iran.
“The Western [governments] claimed that they have not slapped medical equipment and drugs embargo [on Iran], but they were lying and they are still lying in this regard,” the Iranian health minister stated on Friday.
He said the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office last August at a time when Iran was facing medical embargo, banking restrictions and high inflation.
In 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors aimed at preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
The sanctions on Iran’s banking sector effectively hindered the import of medicine to the country through obligating the importers of medicine to Iran to apply for special licenses. The process has dissuaded many of the importing companies. As a result, the lives of many Iranian patients suffering from special diseases such as thalassemia, hemophilia, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes etc. have been put at stake.
In an October 2012 report to the UN General Assembly, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the Western embargoes against Iran have mainly targeted the livelihood of the ordinary Iranian population, including patients.
Hopes have been created for Iran to resume purchasing medications from abroad following Iran’s landmark November 2013 interim nuclear deal with world powers, which took effect in January.