Financially troubled Iran has adopted a new law to allow death row inmates to “voluntarily” offer their organs “before or after execution” to potential buyers looking for a transplant, the Telegraph reported over the weekend.
Some members of the medical community in the Islamic Republic, including Iran’s Association of Surgeons, have reportedly condemned the move as “extremely worrying.”
“Anyone sentenced to death would not be in a right frame of mind to ‘voluntarily’ offer their organs, unless they are forced to do so under immense pressure,” Professor Ali Jafarian, a member of the American Society of Transplantation who works at a liver transplant unit in Tehran, told state-run media in Iran, according to the Telegraph.
“Members of our association of surgeon will never abide by this law,” he declared.
The Telegraph learned that under the new head of the Iranian judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, the Islamic Republic issued a new law that says:
If a convict voluntarily offers his or her organ before or after execution and no medical obstacle is offered, then the judge can approve this in coordination with the ministry of justice and the coroners’ office.
China is the only country known to allow the sale of organs of prisoners.
Although China banned the practice in 2015, reports suggest that the harvesting of organs belonging to prisoners continues, the Telegraph acknowledged, adding:
There is a huge market in Iran for organ transplants due to the vast number of the country’s kidney, heart and liver patients. Thousands of people from Arab countries also visit Iran specifically for this purpose, spending millions of pounds at Iran’s private clinics. It is legal to sell organs in Iran.
Katayoun Najafizadeh, the head of Iran’s Organ Donations Society, revealed that there is a shortage of organs in Iran.
Upwards of 25,000 patients are waiting to receive a transplant in the Islamic Republic, but there are not enough organs to go around, Najafizadeh indicated, noting that only 926 were available to the country’s hospitals last year.
“The shortage has led to the emergence of an illicit market where many poor people openly advertise the sale of one of their kidneys to those in need for as little as [$250],” the Telegraph reported.