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Switzerland slams unilateral sanctions against Iran
Switzerland has reinforced its opposition to unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran outside the framework of the United Nations in defiance of Israel, the United States and the European Union.
Switzerland's Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said on Thursday in Moscow that his country will never back sanctions, imposed by any alliance, outside the UN Security Council framework. “As a rule, we don’t support such sanctions,” said Mr. Burkhalter after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Not a member of the European Union (EU), Switzerland is not bound by the decisions of the 27-nation grouping, which has recently imposed fresh curbs including a ban on Iranian gas imports. Last month, Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf slammed unilateral Western sanctions against Iran by calling them “unacceptable”.
She stressed that that Switzerland will continue its economic engagement with Iran within the framework of UN decisions.
Switzerland is also a major global center of oil trading, and is host to an office of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Pro-Israel organisations have viciously attacked Bern after the disclosure in September that Vitol—a Swiss-based company-- had traded in millions of barrels of Iranian oil. Josh Block, a former Clinton administration official and till recently, the CEO of The Israel Project, a Washington based pro-Israel organisation told Jerusalem Post: “It is truly shameful that the Swiss government continues to help Iran evade EU sanctions as the regime in Tehran continues its march toward nuclear weapons, denies the Holocaust, threatens its neighbors and oppresses its people.”
An AFP report citing local media said that western economic sanctions have hit around six million patients in Iran, because of the difficulties in importing medicine. Fatemeh Hashemi, the head of the Foundation of Special Diseases said that though there is no explicit ban on importing medicines and medical equipment, the impostion of banking sanctions has “severely affected” import of medicines required treating complex illnesses. "We feel the shortage primarily for cancer and multiple sclerosis drugs. Of course, Thalassemia and dialysis patients are also the targets of these hardships," she was quoted as saying.
"The price of domestically produced drugs has increased 15 to 20 percent during the past three months, and that of imported supplements by 20 to 80 percent," pharmacist Mohammad Hossein Hariri recently told the ISNA news agency.