Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Admits A Crisis

0715 GMT: On the surface, the statement from the Supreme Leader is a fairly bland declaration:

Officials and the conscientious should make plans and conduct administrative affairs in such a way that the people’s minds will be at ease about the issue of (medical) treatment.

This, however, was not just a superficial statement for an audience of donors. With that sentence, Ayatollah Khamenei was acknowledging the serious problems that have arisen in health care in the Islamic Republic.

In recent months, Iran has been beset by shortages of drugs, medical supplies, and services. The growing number of people affected could not be denied, Iranian State media had to carry out a tricky manoeuvre. Having denied any effect from sanctions --- indeed, having insisted that those sanctions were hurting the "West" which had imposed them --- they now put out the line that suffering and deaths were due to the restrictions.

That, however, was only the start of the challenge, as officials and politicians began a blame game. Leading authorities, including Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, were accused of mismanagement. Dastjerdi, in response, exposed a possible crisis in funding --- she said that the Central Bank had refused to provice $2 billion needed for import.

Dastjerdi received her answer last week when she was fired by President Ahmadinejad. But that, of course, does nothing to address the problems.

And I am not sure the Supreme Leader's injunction to "Try Harder" will, either.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping