Tue | Nov 24, 2020

Iranians say US sanctions blocking access to needed medicine

Published:Tuesday | July 30, 2019 | 4:29 PM
In this June 19, 2019 photo, Parsa Amini, a 5-year-old boy suffering from eye cancer, sits on his bed at Mahak Children’s Hospital, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Taha Shakouri keeps finding remote corners to play in at a Tehran children’s charity hospital, unaware that his doctors are running out of chemo medicine needed to treat the eight-year-old boy’s liver cancer.

With Iran’s economy in free-fall after the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal and escalated sanctions on Tehran, prices of imported medicines have soared as the national currency tumbled about 70% against the dollar.

Even medicines manufactured in Iran are tougher to come by for ordinary Iranians, their cost out of reach for many in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to about $450.

Iran’s health system can’t keep up and many are blaming President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign for the staggering prices and shortages.

The sanctions have hurt ordinary Iranians, sending prices for everything from staples and consumer goods to housing skyward, while raising the spectre of war with the U.S.

Last week, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said budget cuts because of the drop in crude exports have dramatically affected his department.

The U.S. sanctions have targeted all classes of Iranians, he added.

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