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March 22, 2020

Inhumane

Editorial

 
March 22, 2020

Iran has faced draconian sanctions from the US and its Western allies for over 40 years. At present, the country has 700 new sanctions imposed under the Trump regime. The most damaging of these for the country relate to the blacklisting of companies that buy Iranian oil, its main export, while even Iran’s exquisite Persian carpets, pistachios and other items it manufactures like steel are blacklisted. But to step up sanctions on a country driven to its knees by a disease that, like most of the world, it is unable to control amounts to the worst possible example of inhumanity.

This is just what the US and President Trump have done. These sanctions essentially choke off Iran’s already limited access to its oil revenues, leaving it with fewer resources to fight the pandemic which has already killed 1,400 people in the country. At least 19,000 coronavirus infections have been reported in Iran, which now has been stripped even more cruelly of its ability to fight a disease which has already devastated the country. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has written letters to counterparts across the world including Prime Minister Imran Khan informing them how his country’s fight against Covid-19 is being impaired by the sanctions. Iran has also written to the UN and in a situation where new fatalities are reported every day alongside hundreds of new infections, Tehran has stated that sanctions go against humanitarian norms of international law and judgments of the International Court of Justice. The country has demanded it not be deprived from access to medicine, medical equipment or the ability to provide care for its people.

The US has cruelly rejected any suggestion that the curb should be lifted at least for the present time and says it will continue with its policy of “maximum pressure” on the regime. Essentially, this targets not a regime but the 81 million people of Iran who are in no way responsible for anything. Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan has spoken out strongly for an immediate lifting of the sanctions. Other nations including China, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, France and Germany have also spoken out, expressing outrage. We hope a louder chorus will join them. This must not happen in a time of peril for all of humanity.