08/01/2012, 00.00
IRAN - UNITED STATES

Thousands of Iranian children becoming collateral victims of Obama's sanctions

The US president has tightened sanctions against anyone dealing with Iranian oil companies or helping Iran get around them. They include a Chinese and an Iraqi bank. Thousands of children suffering from haemophilia are at risk because of the embargo on financial transactions. Businesses are also becoming collateral victims.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - US President Barack Obama has ordered new economic sanctions against Iran's energy and financial sector. However, this is having a major impact on the population as drugs for children become scarce.

Since the start of the year, the US administration has imposed new sanctions against Iranian oil exports (one of the country's remaining products) and financial transactions to stop Tehran's nuclear programme, which it deems a threat. The European Union followed suit in July.

The Iranian government has always denied that its programme is military in nature. To bypass the sanctions, it has tried to diversify the way it gets paid for oil sales, using gold and barter.

The new measures are against firms that have dealings with the National Iranian Oil Company, the Naftiran Intertrade Company or the Central Bank of Iran, or that help Iran buy US dollars or precious metals.

The new sanctions have thus targeted China's Bank of Kunlun and Iraq's Elaf Islamic Bank as institutions that Washington says have helped Iran evade sanctions.

However, the battle between the United States (and the European Union) and Iran is causing many collateral victims, including thousands of children who suffer from haemophilia who no longer have access to life-saving drugs.

The Iranian Haemophilia Society has informed the World Federation of Haemophilia that the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs, a consequence of international economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Although the export of drugs to Iran has not been banned, sanctions on the country's financial institutions have severely disrupted the purchase and transfer of medical goods.

Iranian businesses, big or small, are another group that has become the collateral victims of sanctions since they cannot trade with foreign countries.

Sources told AsiaNews that some firms are shutting down whilst others are barely surviving because they cannot buy and sell abroad.

"We don't know where all this will lead," one businessman said. "What is certain is that it is impossible to live."

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