The sanctions spearheaded by the US has seen Iran struggle without the necessary levels of medical equipment, supplies, and sanitation goods – and despite calls from members of US congress like Ilhan Omar and other leading human rights groups around the world, the US continues to impose devastating sanctions on Iran.
US Adds New Sanctions Against Iran Despite Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic
The United States has imposed a new set of sanctions against Iran on Thursday, now targeting individuals and companies that have alleged ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
These new sanctions target both Iranian and Iraqi firms that the US accuses of acting in league with the IRGC’s Quds Force, which largely deals with Iran’s foreign military activities in the region.
The companies targeted include the Reconstruction Organization of the Holy Shrines in Iraq (ROHSI) and the Kosar Company, an Iraqi firm associated with ROHSI. Both these companies maintain and build the major Shia holy sites within Iraq, however the US has now accused the Quds Force of “likely embezzling public donations” from Shia holy sites in Iraq to add to its budget.
In addition to the two major Iraqi companies, the US has also blacklisted Al Khamael Maritime Services, an Iraqi shipping company said to be helping facilitating the sale of Iranian oil. All US citizens are now barred from doing any business with the targeted companies.
The individuals targeted under the US’ new sanctions include Sheikh Adnan Al-Hamidawi, a commander for the Iraqi paramilitary group Kataeb Hezbollah. The US accuses the Sheikh of intimidating members of Iraq’s parliament into supporting US troop withdraw from the country. Iraq had passed a parliamentary resolution in January urging the Prime Minister to expel all American troops from the country after the US assassinated the Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
The US has only increased its sanctions against Iran since, and on top of the economic strain many ordinary Iranian citizens are facing because of the sanctions, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse.
Iran remains one of the worst-hit countries with the Coronavirus, with almost 30,000 cases of infection and more than 2,200 deaths from the virus. The sanctions spearheaded by the US has seen Iran struggle without the necessary levels of medical equipment, supplies, and sanitation goods – and despite calls from members of US congress like Ilhan Omar and other leading human rights groups around the world, the US continues to impose devastating sanctions on Iran.
On Thursday the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempted to explain how the US sanctions are not hurting Iran’s most vulnerable:
Iran employs a web of front companies to fund terrorist groups across the region, siphoning resources away from the Iranian people and prioritizing terrorist proxies over the basic needs of its people…”
As for now, it remains to be seen for how long the US sanctions will continue to hurt those most vulnerable in Iran – as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Iran severely, we must continue to speak out, write to our politicians and MPs, and call out the United States to end its horrific campaign against Iran’s ordinary citizens.