CurrentMiddle East

The US Must End Its Sanctions Against Iran During Coronavirus Pandemic


How many more innocents must continue to be infected and die from this virus for the US to see that the sanctions are only hampering Iran’s efforts to combat COVID-19?

On Friday the Trump administration announced that it would not halt its relentless sanctions on Iran, despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic sweeping both the country and the world. Iran remains one of the worst hit countries in the world, with a reported 1,135 Iranians killed so far with an additional 17,000 infected with the virus.

With an economic crisis in Iran caused by the American-led sanctions, Iranians are now even more vulnerable during the pandemic – medical supplies and sanitation equipment are in low supply in part because of these very sanctions.

These US-led sanctions on Iran are the latest attempt from the US at punishing Iran, after Trump withdrew from the 2015 international agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear program. Beginning in 2018, the US has also been pressuring other countries as well to join in the sanctions against Iran – the latest being five UAE companies, three Chinese companies, and one South African company blacklisted by the US because they were found to be doing business with Iran’s petrochemical sector.

Iran has in turn called upon world leaders to help push back on the US-led sanctions, which continues to cripple the country during one of the worst pandemics in modern history. The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted last Tuesday:

[The sanctions] literally kill innocents…join the growing global campaign to disregard US sanctions on Iran.”

On Thursday, Iran announced that one Iranian was dying of the Coronavirus every 10 minutes as the country continues to struggle in coping with the ongoing pandemic. The vulnerable, including those who have lost their livelihoods due to the almost complete halt in normal everyday economic and social interactions, continue to suffer as Iran struggles to cope with some of the world’s highest fatalities from the virus.

Nahid, an Iranian women’s rights activist, told The Guardian that because of the US sanctions on Iran, many of those most vulnerable in the country were already suffering – and with the horrifying onslaught of the Coronavirus, many of those already suffering are now being hit the hardest:

When people met this virus, their nutrition was already poorer, their immune systems were weakened, many were already unable to afford health care.”

The US must immediately halt its unethical sanctions on Iran, not only because the Coronavirus continues to kill those most vulnerable in the country, but because economic sanctions in general cause the most harm towards those most innocent – the poor, the old, single mothers and working women, and the children of a society. It did not work in Iraq, and it will not work in Iran. How many more innocents must continue to be infected and die from this virus for the US to see that the sanctions are only hampering Iran’s efforts to combat COVID-19?

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