Iran writes to UNGA criticizing US bans amid fatal diseases

Iran’s envoy has wrote to the United Nations General Assembly to call for action in response to the US’s illegal sanctions on Tehran, which hamper the Islamic Republic’s attempt to procure medicine and medical equipment for HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.

Majid Takht Ravanchi, ambassador and permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, wrote a letter of complaint to Abdulla Shahid, president of the United Nations General Assembly, on July 8, warning that the cruel sanctions jeopardizing health and safety of entire population of Iran for political ends that should be considered as a war crime and a crime against humanity.

He wrote in his letter that “Today, the world continues to undergo significant volatility and disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic whose wide-reaching effects have plunged a myriad of societies and their economies into turmoil. The pandemic has also slowed progress in the fight against HIV, and as a result, those who live with HIV/AIDS have become much more vulnerable in recent years.

An effective and appropriate response to the HIV/AIDS requires continued global solidarity and shared responsibility to ensure that health systems are strengthened enough to empower people with knowledge, increase fair access to diagnosis, treatment, medications, and other specialized needs for those living with HIV or at risk. As such, we need a holistic government and societal approach aimed at eliminating all forms of HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

Furthermore, as has been experienced by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has played a key role in responding to the problems associated with HIV-AIDS. As the result, significant progress has been made in Iran in the area of promoting the health and well-being of people at risk of or affected by HIV as well as eliminating the transmission of the disease from mother to child, harm reduction, and reduction of the transmission of AIDS among drug users.

However, and despite the significant progress made in this regard, my Country continues to suffer from unilateral coercive measures employed by the US in contravention of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law and basic norms of international relations. Illegal sanctions are responsible for the reduction of public and private resources allocated for HIV prevention and treatment, adversely impacting the HIV/AIDS response, negatively affecting health systems, hindering access to medical products as well as affordable technology and partnerships, including with international financial institutions.  Under the current circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the negative impacts of such measures on the public health of my Country have been exacerbated with particular negative consequences for women, children, adolescents, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Jeopardizing the health and safety of entire populations for political ends is not only illegal but also a war crime and crime against humanity which entails international responsibility. We have the ethical responsibility to strongly oppose such sanctions and call for their immediate removal.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that implementation of the recommendations contained in the HIV/AIDS related policies, including the Political Declaration adopted by this august Assembly, need to be consistent with respective national laws and the development priorities of Member States while fully respecting the various religious and ethical values as well as cultural backgrounds of their people.”