Media Coverage Is Wrong about Medical Impact of Sanctions in Iran

(The Hill) David Adesnik and Saeed Ghasseminejad - U.S. media have widely reported that U.S. sanctions are responsible for dangerous pharmaceutical shortages in Iran, even though humanitarian goods, including food and medicine, are clearly exempt under U.S. law. The evidence tells a different story, however. EU data show that pharmaceutical exports from the EU to Iran actually rose slightly during the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, after the U.S. reinstated most sanctions in November 2018. Chinese customs data likewise show that Iranian pharmaceutical imports increased. The question to ask is why Iran does not spend more on such imports if consumers are complaining about shortages, instead of bankrolling Hizbullah, Hamas, and Bashar al-Assad. President Hassan Rouhani's first health minister, Ghazizadeh Hashemi, commented, "The problems that we have in the field of pharmaceutical products have been created by ourselves inside the country and the medicine problem has nothing to do with the sanctions." This is not the first time that superficial press coverage has lent credibility to Iranian talking points about the negative impact of sanctions. Iranian leaders understand that Americans have sincere humanitarian concerns that Tehran can manipulate. David Adesnik is director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Saeed Ghasseminejad is a senior Iran and financial economics advisor.

2019-12-04 00:00:00

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