Ali only had two hours to save his baby’s life. He careened through traffic and sped along highway
s to an east Tehran government pharmacy. When he saw some 800 people queued outside the fac
ility, he dropped to his knees. Like him, they were waiting to obtain state-funded medications.
”I cried and screamed, begging people to let me get through,” Ali — whom we have not fully identified for security reasons — recalls.
Eventually, he skipped the line and returned with the medicine in time for his one-year-old daughter, Dory, to recover.The incid
ent happened just as Iran’s landmark nuclear deal with six world powers led by the US was being sig
ned in 2015. It was a moment when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had promised Iranians an easier life, free of me
dicinal and food shortages, and where desperate scenes such as Ali’s outside the pharmacy would become a thing of the past.
Iran was halting its nuclear program in exchange for international sanctions relief, appearing to turn the pa
ge on a 36-year history of diplomatic and economic