UNITED NATIONS - International sanctions on Iran are having "significant" effects on the Iranian people and also appear to be harming humanitarian operations in the country, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the UN General Assembly released on Friday.
The Iranian currency has fallen during the past year and over the last ten days alone has lost a third of its value, sparking street protests. US official and other Western officials blame the drop on a combination of economic mismanagement and sanctions.
Iran is under UN, US and European Union sanctions for refusing to halt nuclear enrichment, which Western powers and their allies fear is part of a plan to amass the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying its atomic work is for medicine and generating electricity.
"The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine," Ban said in the report.
Iran has been hit with four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions between 2006 and 2010 for refusing to halt its nuclear enrichment program. Western nations originally said the sanctions would hurt the government and not the people of Iran, but now acknowledge the wider impact.