05/28/2019, 11.45
IRAN - UNITED STATES
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Iranian doctors: US sanctions prices medical equipment

Some components have seen import costs increased fivefold. In other cases stocks are lacking and components are being smuggled, resulting in a quality lower than the minimum standards. From Japan, President Trump says he does not want a regime change, but to prevent Tehran developing the atom bomb.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Due to US sanctions against Iran, the price of medical equipment imported from abroad - many of which are life-saving - have increased exponentially, some of them even five times in recent months.

The secretary of the Iranian Radiologists Association Vahid Karimi reports the price hike pointing the finger at the punitive measures implemented by the White House against Tehran which led to a depreciation of the local currency against the dollar and other currencies up to four times in 18 months.

The critical situation in the sector is also confirmed by the secretary of the Iranian Pathologists Association Mohammad Ali Boroumand, according to whom appropriations and government funds are no longer sufficient. "The components and laboratory equipment - he says - are not included in purchases at controlled prices and this has led to a spike in the price of the parts".

That is why, the expert adds, a component "which was at 90 million rials (about 800 dollars) last year, today has reached the cost of 360 million rials (around 3300 dollars)".

Meanwhile, sources from the Mehr agency report the lack of batteries for cardiac pacemakers, as well as laboratory diagnostic test kits. The drop in stocks worries, and is a cause for deep concern for both doctors and the patients themselves. The problem has reached alarming levels, so much so that some laboratories have resorted to smuggled kits that could even be much lower than the minimum efficiency standards required.

The factors underlying the critical situation include the diversion of funds from the Healthcare sector to other sectors. However, the source did not want to specify where the money is being diverted and for what purposes.

The collapse of the Iranian currency and the growing difficulties of its economy  is the result of the escalation in tension triggered by US President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ​​agreed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

He then imposed the toughest sanctions on Iran in history.As noted by the International Monetary Fund, this decision has negatively impacted Iran’s economy, especially its oil exports, which was the goal of the second wave of sanctions that came into effect on 4 November 2018.

Meanwhile, President Trump, on an official visit to Japan, said that the United States does not intend to achieve "regime change in Iran", but only "prevent" the Islamic Republic from "equipping itself with nuclear weapons". At the end of the meeting with the Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, the White House tenant then showed optimism, pointing out that "we will reach an agreement" with Tehran.

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