One of my close friends is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a severe mental illness which has almost paralyzed his entire life. He was diagnosed with the psychosis at the age of 15 and now, more than a decade after that time, he is married and has two children. The psychiatrists in Iran have recommended him to go abroad and pursue his treatment under the supervision of a group of qualified, experienced practitioners; however, he was financially unable to afford the expenses of such a solution and remained in Iran.
Psychiatrists in Iran have prescribed several drugs for my friend and he has been taking them over the past years; however, when I met him a few weeks ago, he informed me of a shocking, unanticipated incident which I'm still unable to believe. My friend told me that the Canadian and Italian manufacturers of his medicines have ceased exporting their products to Iran following the imposition of United Nations Security Council's fourth round of sanctions against Iran and it's possible that they refuse to export their other pharmaceutical products to the country as a result of the sanctions, as well. He told me that his psychiatrists are not able to prescribe the high-quality, original medicines for him anymore and this may seriously jeopardize his mental health and even put his family life into risk.
My instinctive reaction to what my friend told me was nothing but perplexity and confusion. I couldn't understand the relationship between a set of sanctions which are aimed at what is claimed to be Iran's "controversial" nuclear program and the mental health of thousands of patients who are suffering from different kinds of psychoses all around the country.
At the first glance, what should be noted is that the four rounds of sanctions which were imposed on Iran by the UNSC so far are entirely illegal, unfounded and baseless as the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly pointed out in its reports that Iran has never diverted toward enriching uranium to the extent that is utilizable in the atomic weapons;. The reports of intelligence services in the United States also confirm that Iran has never had the intention of producing nuclear weapons and thus should not be penalized with sanctions and other punitive measures. The National Intelligence Estimate report of the November 2007 has clearly expressed that Iran does not have a nuclear arsenal and is not moving towards producing nuclear weapons; therefore, bringing up Iran's nuclear dossier in Security Council and imposing several rounds of crippling sanctions against its people has been merely politicizing Iran's case which should have been investigated from a legal and scientific viewpoint, not a political one.
However, what is of high importance is the hypocritical and inhuman approach of the United States and its allies concerning Iran's nuclear program which is turned into an opportunity to confront with the Iranian nation and curb its scientific and political developments.
We have been witness to the fact that, under the pretext of abiding by the UNSC sanctions, several countries in Europe, Asia and Northern America have adopted a counterproductive stance toward Iran and ceased their ordinary financial transactions with Tehran.
Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea and EU member states are among the countries which imposed unilateral, extra-resolution sanctions against Iran and caused several problems for the Iranian nation. Refusing to refuel the Iranian planes in the European airports, suspending the accounts of Iranians in foreign banks and financial institutions, delaying the issuance of visas for the Iranians who want to travel abroad, banning the Iranian students from studying certain fields in the foreign universities and ceasing the exportation of vital goods including foodstuff, medical facilities, fruits and medicines to Iran are among the belligerent policies which these countries have adopted against the people of Iran.
With this unconstructive approach, however, the belligerent countries who have stood against the nation of Iran demonstrated their dishonesty and proved that are not worthy of being trusted. First and foremost, they showed that their claims of being a friend of Iranian nation are entirely futile and pointless. They demonstrated that their "Nowrouz" greeting messages and stretched hands are fake and deceitful. They can not come to terms with the Iranian nation and are fated to be the enemies of Iran, because it's in their interests to spread animosity and hostility to retain their influence and power.
Secondly, these countries have clearly demonstrated that they have the least respect for human rights and what they claim to be their exclusive realm. A country that deprives the mental patients of another country, which is in dire need of high-quality medication to meet its pharmaceutical needs, of its medical products cannot be called a defender of human rights. Thousands of innocent civilians are suffering here in Iran, and they should be punished by the supercilious, arrogant powers simply because these powers favor being at odds with the independent and self-determining nations.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon regularly lashes out at other countries for what he claims to be their abuses of human rights; however, his own country, with a long period of abusing the rights of its ethnic minorities, refuses to export medicines to Iran because it wants to "abide by the UNSC resolutions". It might be interesting to know Mr. Cannon's viewpoints regarding human rights and the way his country glorifies the humankind. Thousands of mental patients are suffering in a remote country and those who promote themselves as the harbingers of human rights, deprive these "humans" from their most essential right which is a proper medication. How is it possible to justify the Canadian style of respecting the human rights, we don't know!
This was only a simple instance of how the pioneers of human rights fail to respect and venerate what they consider to be their first and foremost social value. Who knows about the real, on-the-ground abuses of human rights by them?
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and interviewer. He is a contributing writer of Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine and the the Foreign Policy Journal. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity (Spain). He is also a member of World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSC-SD). Kourosh Ziabari's articles have appeared in a number of Canadian, Belgian, Italian, French and German websites. He can be reached at email@example.com
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This story was published on November 10, 2010.