According to the Managing Director of Bazargan Customs Office, the first consignment of the ingredients for use in Iran’s pharmaceutical industry had been delivered on April 3 to help Iran fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Iran also received a coronavirus test kit cargo that had been purchased from France. It is not yet clear whether the imported shipments are related to the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), or independent from the mechanism which is meant to make humanitarian trade with Iran possible without violating U.S. sanctions.
The mechanism, initiated by three European powers — Britain, France, and Germany — was devised in 2019 to facilitate non-USD and non-SWIFT humanitarian transactions with Iran.
On March 24, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official also announced that Seoul had obtained permission from the government of the United States to export pharmaceutical products and equipment to Iran. Washington’s waiver allows South Korea to products these products to Iran under a “special program”.
On April 12 Iran’s Customs Information Secretary Rouhollah Latifi said that a consignment of coronavirus-related medical shipment worth € 1,481,000 (roughly $1.6 million) purchased from Bulgaria had arrived in Iran.
News of drug imports comes after a widespread debate in recent weeks over the supply of drugs and medical equipment needed to deal with the coronavirus crisis in Iran.
The U.S. government has repeatedly asserted that humanitarian aid to Iran is not subject to Washington sanctions. However, Iranian government officials argue that since the country’s banking network is under the sanctions, financial transfers to purchase humanitarian items have become complicated.
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