MEP Schaake: "Give Iranians access to lifesaving medicines"

Dutch-Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/Alde) wants an end to European sanctions against Iran that block access to essential medicines by the Iranian population. Due to sanctions in relation to the Iranian nuclear program, medicines for the treatment of cancer, and even simple blood thinners, are hardly reaching people in Iran. Schaake: "Crippling sanctions are only justifiable if they target the Iranian regime and not the civilian population. Iranian citizens are already confronted with repression and violation of their rights every day, and living conditions are extremely grim. The EU should stand with the Iranian population, instead of making their lives even harder."  Today, in written questions, the MEP asks High Representative Catherine Ashton for action. Independence Schaake points out that the European independence and space to manoeuvre with respect to Iran is under pressure because of American sanctions. European financial institutions and companies with a branch or activities in the United States have to respect the stricter American sanctions in order to continue their activities or to avoid losing the US market. Schaake: "The compatibility of the European Central Bank's transactions with American sanctions is now coming under scrutiny. This is something I object to in talks I have with American diplomats. The restricted access to medicines is another undesirable side-effect of the US sanctions. The EU should consider the wellbeing of Iranian people because they will be instrumental in creating a freer and less threatening Iran." Dialogue According to the MEP, the EU has aligned its approach with the American position towards Iran due to intense political pressure from Washington. Schaake: "Contrary to the United States, the EU still has direct relations with the Iranian regime, which enables the dialogue about the Iranian nuclear program as well as human rights violations. We should not cooperate with the Iranian policy of self-isolation. As long as there is space for a dialogue, we can look for solutions. We must ensure we avoid escalation and armed conflict." On February 26th, talks between the E3+3 (United kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China and the United States) and Iranian negotiators about the Iranian nuclear program will resume in the Kazakh capital of Almaty. These negotiations will be chaired by Catherine Ashton.