Mar 2, 2020, 4:30 PM
Journalist ID: 1842
News Code: 83698788
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US sanctions hit Iran’s cancer patients: France 24

Tehran, March 2, IRNA – France 24 published a report on Monday showing that the US sanctions on Iran actually hit the ordinary people, medical equipment, and cancer related medicines.

The French media has interviewed the head of a medicine producing company in Karaj, Alborz Province, west of Tehran.

France 24 wrote that some 600 employees in those areas do their best to remove shortcomings of patients in dire need of cancer related medication. 

"Much of the equipment that we are using either in production or in laboratory, they are considered as dual-use and they are sanctioned," said plant manager Reza Mostofi.

"We have many issues at the moment. Because of the sanctions, usually we can't either transfer the money or the supplier is not willing to sell the machinery that we need."

As the new coronavirus spreads in Iran, many people have struggled to find medicine -- an issue linked to sanctions reinstated by the United States in 2018 after it withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal, it wrote, adding that in response, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments to the deal since May 2019.

On paper, humanitarian items are exempt from US sanctions, but in reality banks tend to decline transactions involving Iran to avoid being exposed to potential litigation.

"The equipment that we are using, the spare parts and everything, now we have a big issue for repairing the spare parts that are needed," said Mostofi.

For the past six months, he said, the plant has been unable to produce a drug that is essential for treating leukemia.

"For some time we have not been able to import the ingredients of this material, so our line... is now stopped," said the English-speaking manager.

The company hopes to produce the active ingredient itself, with a "very big" bioreactor, but it faces almost insurmountable difficulties because of the sanctions.

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