Sep 13, 2020, 12:02 AM
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Iran's health minister: Time ripe for a global call-up for ending illegitimate US sanctions

Tehran, Sept 13, IRNA – Iranian Minister of Health, Treatment and Medical Education Saeed Namaki in a letter to Head of World Health Organization (WHO) urged a global call-up for ending the US illegitimate and unilateral sanctions which have jeopardized global health.

In his letter, Namaki presented a report on Iran's latest measures in fighting COVID-19, adding that public health measures, updated treatment protocols, local production of personal protective equipment, promoting diagnostic capacities, control and prevention of infection and protection of essential health services were carried out to minimize the side effects of this pandemic.

He said that despite all the efforts made, "we have painfully lost dozens of educated and committed healthcare professionals", who were recalled in your message on Doctor's Day.

The following is the full text of Iranian Health Minister's letter to WHO chief:

Dear Dr. Tedros,

I would like to appreciate WHO`s leadership in combating the pandemic, which requires solidarity, integrity, dedication and commitment at all levels across the globe.

At the outset, I wish to share with you the latest progress of our national efforts to fight COVID-19. During the past 7 months, we have applied three rounds of nationwide screening, where in the current practice, 28 million high risk people have been screened since two weeks ago.

In the meantime, we have started reopening of the businesses three month ago through 'smart distancing', 'wearing mask' through national campaigns,  and most recently reopened schools.

Public health measures, updated treatment protocols, local production of PPEs, substantial up-scaling diagnostic capacities, infection prevention and control (IPC), risk communication and community engagement, protecting essential health services and provision non-COVID measures, and at the top, 'Whole Government' approach where all implemented to ensure the least adverse effects of the outbreak.

Despite all our effort, we painfully lost tens of highly educated and dedicated healthcare professionals, who you paid tribute in your kind message on the occasion of  Iranian Doctor`s Day. 

Despite our all-out fight against COVID-19, IR Iran is facing unilateral, unlawful and flagrant violation of international laws by the US Government, which withdrew from JCPOA, to initiate extensive, comprehensive and cruel sanctions against the citizens of my country.

Meanwhile, blocking Iran`s access to the global banking channels has damaged Iran`s economy and disrupting key trade activities, including medicine and medical equipment. Thus, health of the people has been the most targeted and damaged, particularly during COVID-19 outbreak.

US government based on the interim order of the International Court of Justice, in addition to general obligations and multilateral treaties must lift sanctions in the field of medicine and medical equipment. In this context, I would like to draw your kind attention to the following issues: 
 
1. According to the Hippocratic Oath, the first principle of equality is the provision of health facilities and services to all human beings. The world medical community, by its oath, has a humanistic duty to help lift Iran's drug and food sanctions and provide equitable and timely access of medical and public goods such as vaccines.

2. We have suffered difficult circumstances for the last 7 months, while we have fought against COVID-19 and the unlawful, unilateral sanctions at the same time. Therefore, our legal and legitimate expectation in this emergency situation is that the World Health Organization, the United Nations and all International Agencies to ensure that medicine and humanitarian items are made available to the Iranian people. It is the time for a global call to remove all sanctions, which could endanger the health of affected individuals.

Thus, I urge Your Excellency to take necessary measures to end the illegitimate and unilateral sanctions of the United States that inflicting pain and death upon Iranian people and other nationalities, bringing negative consequences for global health and health security. 

Please accept the assurance of my highest consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. S. Namaki, Ph.D.

8072**2050

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