Mar 14, 2013 - Issue 508 Iran Sanctions = Silent War - Havaar Launches Campaign to Help Iranians Access Life Saving Medicine

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Havaar - Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression

Below is the text of an Havaar petition, directed to the CEO's of a number of banks:

In recent months there have been increasing reports of medicine shortages and price inflation in Iran, resulting in a serious health crisis. Because Iranian banks are finding it difficult or impossible to conduct international financial transactions under the current U.S.-led sanctions regime, the medical industry in Iran has been unable to import sufficient, and affordable, quantities of vital medicines.
Under existing Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, medically-related bank transactions are generally exempt from the sanctions policy. We strongly urge your bank to enable these types of transactions­which are literally life-saving­with Iranian companies, and to clarify via public statement your corporate policy with respect to this issue.

For more information on Havaar - our organization and campaign, click here:

If you would like to further support the campaign, we encourage the following:

- Sign and share the petition with friends and community members via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.). Here is a link to the petition that you can distribute to your networks:

- Educate members of your organization about the negative effects of sanctions and threats of war on ordinary Iranians (you may find informative articles and reports here and here)

- Host an event to raise awareness about the effects of sanctions

- Talk to friends, relatives, members of local communities, etc. about how sanctions affect the general health and livelihood of ordinary Iranians. (you may find personal narratives here)

- Ask your elected representatives to lift sanctions against Iranian people

Beyond the petition, Havaar has made the following background statement:

Sanctions against Iran are often presented as a humane alternative to war, but in fact they have caused massive economic hardship and a social crisis in Iranian society that has reached life-threatening proportions. The U.S.-led sanctions regime is strangling the Iranian people, cutting off trade relations, financial transactions, and access to vital goods. The results have been stark and devastating: currency devaluation, skyrocketing inflation, factory closures, layoffs, unpaid wages, and now a major healthcare crisis.

Without access to the international banking system, Iranians are finding it increasingly difficult to import life-saving medicines or the raw materials for many domestically-made drugs­a situation which a January 8, 2013 Associated Press report deemed “a sign of the domino effect of sanctions on everyday life.”

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. agency that regulates sanctions, has officially exempted medicine-related transactions as a humanitarian gesture. However, at this point few banks are willing to do business with Iranian pharmaceutical importers. Shortages and steep price increases of drugs used to treat cancer, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and other ailments have put hundreds of thousands at risk and resulted in an unknown but increasing number of deaths. This amounts to collective punishment of an entire population.

Sanctions and the constant threat of military intervention by the U.S. and Israel target the very people who have already been struggling to live under a corrupt government that has mismanaged the economy and thwarted basic democratic rights. The resulting state of emergency in Iran has only strengthened the hand of government officials who seek to crush popular movements inside the country under the pretext of defending national security.

Havaar continues to speak out against this silent war, and today we are announcing an effort to pressure international banking institutions to process financial transactions related to the importation of medicine so that Iranians can acquire life-saving drugs. We are asking individuals and organizations to join us by signing our petition addressed to CEOs of major banks.

This petition is just the first step in a broader campaign against the entire sanctions regime: rather than being an alternative to war, sanctions wreak havoc on the life chances of entire populations and are often used to pave the way for military intervention, as our brothers and sisters in Iraq have experienced firsthand.

Havaar’s guiding principle is to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people. Therefore, we will continue to actively oppose threats of military attack from the U.S. and Israel­as well as other forms of external intervention in Iran­and the repression that the Iranian government continues to direct against its own people.

Peace and solidarity,


Click here to contact Havaar