Rouhani Calls for Regional Health Efforts
EghtesadOnline: Collective efforts in the fields of security, science and technology can help promote health in the region, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, while criticizing US sanctions that have hindered Iranians' access to life-saving medicine.
"War and terrorism are the main factors undermining the health of a society," he said during a speech at the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean held in Tehran, President.ir reported.
The Regional Office of the World Health Organization for the Eastern Mediterranean is one of WHO's six regional offices across the world. It serves the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region, which comprises 21 countries and territories with a population of nearly 680 million people.
The president said conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have created many health issues and Iran has done its best to help these countries fight terrorist groups and get access to food and medicine, according to Financial Tribune.
"If we want to promote health, increase life expectancy and root out issues that endanger people's health, we have to stand up against those who fan the flames of conflicts, help those in need and cooperate with each other in the areas of science and technology," he said.
In his speech, Rouhani criticized the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and the world powers as well as sanctions reimposed by the US administration on Tehran.
"The United States pulled out of JCPOA without any reason or excuse. It actually gave in to the pressure from hardliners in America, the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia, and abandoned the internationally brokered agreement," he said, using the official name of the nuclear accord—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He said it is a "disgrace" for the US government that its sanctions against Iran have led to restrictions on trade in humanitarian goods, including food and medicine.
The United States claims that its embargoes do not target humanitarian transactions, but financial and banking restrictions have hit Iran's healthcare sector.
The president told the conference US sanctions are a "crime against humanity" and amount to "economic terrorism".
"However, it does not mean that the Iranian nation has been brought to its knees because our scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers have redoubled their efforts, and we are moving toward full self-sufficiency despite unprecedented economic pressure and unjust sanctions," he said, adding that 95% of the required medicine are being domestically produced.
Rouhani also thanked "friendly" nations that have offered help to and stood by Iran despite the US pressure and said the Islamic Republic "extends the hand of friendship" to all its neighbors.
"The Iranian nation will eventually emerge victorious in the fields of politics, economy and health," he said, stressing that Iran takes pride in the fact that it is a popular medical tourism destination.