Photo: Flickr/Army Medicine
U.S. forces in Afghanistan are dependent on a scientific research arm of the Iranian government to treat venomous bites by snakes peculiar to southwest Asia, Michael Phillips and Farnaz Fassihi of The Wall Street Journal report.Despite U.S.-led international sanctions imposed to cripple Iran’s economy, the defence Department has purchased about 115 vials of antivenom made by Iran’s Razi Vaccine & Serum Research Institute from middlemen for about $310 apiece since January 2011.
Questions from the WSJ have prompted the Pentagon to investigate whether the purchases violate rules of the sanctions and require a waiver from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The sanctions have also made it difficult for the lab to buy chemicals and equipment in addition to raising prices, but that doesn’t factor in the mind of the scientists.
“We make this to save lives, and it doesn’t matter if the person is Iranian or Afghan or American,” Hadi Zareh, lead researcher in Razi’s antivenin department, told the WSJ. “We are happy to hear we have saved a person’s life, even an American soldier.”
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