The deputy health minister of Iran Alireza Raeesi said that the American claims that medicine, food and humanitarian aid are not subject to sanctions is “ridiculous".
Speaking to ILNA correspondent, he added “It is true that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions but when we cannot transfer money for supply of medicine it means sanctions exist.”
“We also can't even deliver goods properly, so our country has been deprived of access to pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.”
Raeesi added that this is a kind of game. They literally say no sanctions, but under the current circumstances, U.S. sanctions have targeted Iran's healthcare sector.
“We produce about 95% of the drugs, but we have faced difficulties for supplying raw materials for drug production and providing some drugs that we cannot produce in our country.”
In a tweet, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that "the U.S. does not, and never did, sanction food and medicine. They are exempt from sanctions.”
In response Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the U.S. sanctions against Tehran which ban Iranians’ access to financial services to buy food and medicine are "crimes against humanity”.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki also said budget cuts, because of the drop in crude exports, have dramatically affected his department. The US sanctions have targeted all classes of Iranians, he added.
Official reports say Iran produces some 95 percent of the basic medicines it needs and even exports some of the production to neighboring countries.