Iran’s Medical Shortages: Who’s Responsible?


by Jasmin Ramsey

Press reports about medical supply shortages in Iran, some of which have described devastating consequences, have been surfacing in the last two years, while debate rages on about who’s responsible — the Iranian government or the sanctions regime. Siamak Namazi, a Dubai-based business consultant and former Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, admits the Iranian government shares responsibility but says sanctions are the main culprit. Humanitarian trade may be exempted from the sanctions, says Namazi, but that isn’t enough when the banking valve required to carry out the transactions is being strangled. “[I]f [sanctions advocates] maintain the sanctions regime is fine as it is, then how come they try to promote substitution from China and India?” asks Namazi. The following Q&A with Namazi was conducted in Washington, DC.

Q: You recently authored a policy paper published by the Woodrow Wilson Center where you essentially blame medical shortages in Iran on Western sanctions. How did you reach this conclusion?

Siamak Namazi: We concluded that the Iranian government deserves firm criticism for mismanagement of the crisis, poor allocation of scarce foreign currency resources and failing to crack down on corrupt practices, but the main culprit are the sanctions that regulate financial transactions with Iran. So, while Tehran can and should take further steps to improve the situation, it cannot solve this problem on its own. As sanctions are tightened more and more, things are likely to get worse unless barriers to humanitarian trade are removed through narrow adjustments to the sanctions regime.

My team and I reached these conclusions after interviewing senior officers among pharmaceutical suppliers, namely European and American companies in Dubai, as well as private importers and distributors of medicine in Tehran. We also spoke to a number of international banks. None of us had any financial stake in the pharmaceutical business, whatsoever, and we all worked pro bono. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

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