Friday, March 1, 2013

Blocking medicine to Iran

Source: New York Times; Over the past three months, I led a group of independent business consultants with expertise in Iran to evaluate the problem. After conducting extensive interviews in Tehran and Dubai with Iranian importers and manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and their Western counterparts, we concluded that even though in theory the sanctions regime imposed on Iran by the United States and the European Union is supposed to allow humanitarian trade, in reality it impairs the delivery of drugs and medical equipment to Iran.
Although the Iranian government deserves firm criticism for incompetence in handling the crisis, poor allocation of scarce foreign currency resources and failing to crack down on corrupt practices, the main culprit are the U.S. and European sanctions that regulate financial transactions with Iran.

The system is irrational: There is a blanket waiver to the sanctions to facilitate humanitarian trade, but other laws restricting financial transactions with Iran make it impossible to implement that exception. So the trade of medical supplies is legal in theory and virtually impossible in practice because Iran cannot pay for the Western medicine it needs. Continue reading. 

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