TEHERAN, April 6 (FENA/ IRNA) – Human Rights Watch on Monday requested the US to take immediate action to ease its sanctions and expand licensing of sanctions-exempt items to ensure Iran’s access to essential humanitarian resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
Broad US-imposed economic sanctions are negatively affecting the Iranian government’s ability to adequately respond to the mounting health consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, wrote HRW’s official website.
The HRW wrote, “As the burden on the country’s debilitated health care system has dramatically increased, the broad US economic sanctions resulting in severe international banking restrictions have drastically constrained the ability of the country to finance humanitarian imports, including medicines and medical equipment.”
“But it is wrong and callous for the Trump administration to compound Iranians’ misery by depriving them of access to the critical medical resources they urgently need,” said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director at Human Rights Watch.
Under international law, a country or coalition of states enforcing economic sanctions should consider the impact on the human rights of the affected population, especially regarding their access to goods essential to life, including medicines and food.
A doctor with close knowledge of the government’s response to the outbreak told Human Rights Watch that obtaining necessary medical equipment has become more difficult under sanctions, wrote the HRW.
While the US government has built exemptions for humanitarian imports into its sanctions regime, Human Rights Watch research in October 2019 found that in practice, these exemptions have failed to offset the strong reluctance of the US and European companies and banks to risk incurring sanctions and legal action by exporting or financing exempted humanitarian goods.
Head of Iran’s Health Ministry’s Public Relations Office Kianoush Jahanpour said on Sunday that 58,226 people have been affected with the coronavirus in Iran, out of whom 3,603 patients have lost their lives and 22,011 have recovered from the potentially deadly virus.