ICRC Seeking Iran Help in Regional Operations

ICRC Seeking Iran Help  in Regional OperationsICRC Seeking Iran Help  in Regional Operations

The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has announced plans to introduce Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) as a logistics center for relief operations in the Middle East.

Olivier Martin, head of the ICRC representative office in Tehran, said the IRCS has a large capacity, especially with regard to aerial, marine and land routes, which can be used to help address the needs of conflict-ridden countries in the region, ISNA reported.  

“The ICRC intends to use Iran’s advanced capabilities to provide logistical support for the people of Iraq, Syria and other war-stricken areas in the region as well as in international operations,” said Martin at a press conference at the ICRC office, adding that this is now feasible following the removal of sanctions on Iran.

Syria has been the scene of a foreign-backed insurgency since March 2011, which according to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people. In Iraq, the government is fighting ISIS military attacks since 2014.

The first step is to select Iranian experts and give them training so that they get connected with the global Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies after IRSC promotion at the regional level.

The official said previous agreements with Iran will be revised and renewed in 2017 while adding new areas of cooperation.

“Iran has operated successfully with regard to health services and we are keen to expand our ties,” he said.

Pointing to IRCS’s experience in the field of rehabilitation services, Martin said the ICRC seeks to help IRCS become a regional education center for rehabilitation.

The ICRC also seeks to cooperate with Iran “in activating its psychosocial support sector as well as conducting humanitarian activities, which the region is in dire need of.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) provides humanitarian assistance not only with traditional relief aid such as shelter, food distribution and basic health care, but also with psychosocial support.

Psychosocial support is an integral part of the IFRC’s emergency response. It helps individuals and communities to heal the psychological wounds and rebuild social structures after an emergency or a critical event. It can help change people into active survivors rather than passive victims.

Early support and adaptation processes - which respect local customs in mental health or psychosocial healing - allow an affected population to cope better with a difficult situation.

  Meet on Int’l Humanitarian Law

Seyyed Amir Mohsen Ziaei, head of the IRCS, pointed to the upcoming international conference in Iran on humanitarian law (international humanitarian law is a set of rules which seek to limit the effects of armed conflict) adding that it is an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise with the ICRC. “We are willing to have closer cooperation with the committee.”  

With over 500 experts on health services, the IRCS is capable of playing a significant role in international relief operations.

The R&D section is envisaging new and innovative projects to include in the society’s future plans, said Ziaei.

The IRCS has planned a 10-year roadmap that encompasses all its targets, tasks, and goals with special focus on preventing and reducing social harm. It will execute the plan under two five-year projects, each including several strategies to achieve the targets, Ziaei had said at a recent session to assess the IRCS capacities and capabilities to help address social ills.

The approach to crises response has changed over the years. “Today, the nature of incidents has changed from natural to manmade, sometimes a mix of both, and are rooted in social, cultural, and economic elements, that is why preventing potential harm is placed high on our agenda. The stronger societies are in terms of culture and economy, the more able they will be in combating maladies,” he said.