By Yuram Abdullah Weiler

Hitting brick walls: Iran brooks another year of U.S. economic terrorism

November 10, 2019 - 14:58

“We have now, for a full year, tried to find banks that are able and willing to transfer money from donors to support our work for Afghan refugees and disaster victims in Iran, but we are hitting brick walls on every side.” —Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland

A year has passed since the despotic Trump regime re-imposed punitive economic sanctions on Iran, forcing ordinary Iranians to endure unconscionable personal hardships, including watching loved ones die due to shortages of crucial drugs. While the U.S. claims to have made exceptions for humanitarian goods such as food and medicines, in practice, banks refuse to risk provoking Washington’s wrath and being fined on account of secondary sanctions. 
The coercive unilateral economic sanctions imposed by the United States on the Islamic Republic of Iran were relaxed to some degree under the JCPOA, the so-called Iran nuclear deal, but U.S. president Trump rashly pulled out of the agreement on May 8, 2018. The former reality TV host then gleefully announced that these harsh measures, which are illegal under international law, would be re-imposed in two 90-day increments, and fully in effect by November 4, 2018. President Rouhani did not mince words, and calling the sanctions for what they are, declared, “The U.S. pressures on firms and banks to halt business with Iran is one hundred percent a terrorist act.” 

“We are not looking for regime change,” Trump has insisted emphatically, “We are not looking for that at all.”  Yet despite his prevaricating pontification, the intent of U.S. economic terrorism against Iran is regime change, as was made abundantly clear by secretary of state Michael Pompeo. “Things are much worse for the Iranian people,” exuded the corpulent politician, “and we are convinced that will lead the Iranian people to rise up and change the behavior of the regime.”  The Iranian Foreign Ministry, however, disagreed. “The unlawful sanctions imposed by the US will not bring about the results it is looking for,” wrote the ministry in a statement, “But they do harm economies, and they do harm people, both Iranian and others.” 

Refugees, for example, are particularly vulnerable, and Iran, much more so than the U.S., has done a yeoman’s job of caring for refugees ever since its inception.  Iran has hosted more than 3 million Afghan refugees, who had been forced to flee their homeland as a result of U.S.-incited wars in Afghanistan beginning with the CIA’s Operation Cyclone in July 1979, and continuing to this day. “Refugee families are already skipping meals due to the growing economic crisis,” said Secretary-General of the NRC Jan Egeland, “They are selling the few assets they have to cover basic costs.” In addition, the Islamic Republic has had to deal with the victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, which in March 2019 affected tens of thousands of Iranians. However, because of the economic terrorism of the U.S. sanctions, the Iranian Red Crescent was unable to receive €3million in cash donations to aid flood victims.  

Sharply condemning this criminal behavior perpetrated by the U.S., Idriss Jazairy, the UN Special Rapporteur concerned with the negative impact of sanctions, stated, “The resort by a major power of its dominant position in the international financial arena against its own allies to cause economic hardship to the economy of sovereign States is contrary to international law, and inevitably undermines the human rights of their citizens.”  Denouncing what he rightfully termed “U.S. genocidal economic terrorism,” Iranian Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Eshaq Al-e Habib pointed out, “Within the last four decades, the U.S. has imposed unilateral coercive measures on the Iranian people at an increasing rate.”   

And why has Iran been subjected to this ongoing U.S. attempt at economic asphyxiation for more than 40 years? The reason is simple: because the Iranian people had the audacity to overthrow Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the U.S.-imposed dictator. The same holds true in the case of Cuba, where U.S. sanctions have been in effect since Fidel Castro ousted the U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in January of 1959. While Trump’s thugs have pushed unrestrained U.S. unilateralism to record levels, previous Washington regimes have done their part to destabilize and create chaos in the Middle East and much of the rest of the world, for that matter. In sharp contrast, the Islamic Republic of Iran strives to be a responsible state and a stabilizing power in the region. 

On Thursday, November 7 and again on Friday, earthquakes have once again struck Iran in the country’s East Azerbaijan Province northeast of Hashtrud, resulting in at least six deaths and over 300 injured.  Two years ago in November 2017, before Trump shredded the JCPOA, a far more lethal earthquake struck Iran in Kermanshah Province near the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, killing over 500 Iranians and injuring some 7,400 others. Even then, the criminal U.S. regime prohibited individuals from donating money directly to non-U.S. charitable organizations for the specific purpose of using the money in relief efforts to aid Iran’s earthquake victims.   

To demonstrate that categorizing U.S. sanctions as “genocidal” is not at all extreme, consider the case of dietary formula for infants with food allergies. In May 2011, the price of this formula skyrocketed 14 times, so the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, taking a lesson from the previous round of U.S. sanctions, set up a database to register those infants needing special formula so as to ensure a sufficient supply for at least ten months. However, the two-month supply of ordinary infant formula, anticipated to be adequate by officials, was sold out in four days due to buyers’ fears of future shortages.   

While Iran subsidizes essential medicines and dietary products and has near universal health care, administrators cannot be expected to plan for every contingency that could arise as a result of Washington’s genocidal whims. Helicopters are vital to rescue flood victims and a severe shortage of serviceable aircraft due to U.S. sanctions has severely hampered relief operations in the flood-stricken regions of Iran. Seyed Alireza Marandi, M.D., President of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran, in a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres in November 2018 asked, “When will the lives of children, and women and men across the globe be protected from the criminal behavior of the United States?” 

We have indeed hit the brick walls of U.S. economic terrorism. These brick walls, which have been under construction since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, must be demolished using any and all means before another year passes by. How many more outrages committed by Trump and his henchmen will it take for us, the concerned and caring people of nations of the world, to join together and put an end to this criminal regime in Washington?


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