Calgary University professor urges world to press U.S. to lift sanctions on Iran

April 19, 2020 - 21:0

TEHRAN - Lorian Hardcastle, a professor at University of Calgary, has said that the international community must make more efforts in pushing the United States to remove sanctions on Iran when the country is fighting the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“The international organizations have not exerted enough pressure on the United States to lead it to removal of sanctions. Other countries can also push the United States to take more actions,” she told ILNA in an interview published on Sunday.

Hardcastle noted that sanctions have limited Iran’s access to medical equipment.

Thomas Alan, a professor at Vanderbilt University, has also said that the Iranians are victims of the United States’ sanctions and policies.

In an interview with ILNA published on Saturday, Alan said that the U.S. sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to fight the coronavirus.

“The president of the United States must remove the sanctions for humanitarian reasons,” the professor insisted.

Chris Murphy, the U.S. senator from Connecticut, warned on Monday that the Trump administration could be partially responsible for “the death of innocent people” if it continues its current policies towards Iran amidst the coronavirus epidemic.

“If this epidemic continues to grow and spread in Iran it will…result in the death of innocent people, partially as a result of U.S. policy that does not accrue to the national security benefit of our country,” he told reporters on the Monday conference call, The National Interest reported.

“Remember, if we don’t beat it there, we don’t beat it here. This virus doesn’t respect borders,” he added. “It’s just good public health policy to help even our adversaries beat back this scourge.”

The novel coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, hit Iran at a time when U.S.-Iranian tensions were at an all-time high. The Trump administration initially relaxed its “super-maximum economic pressure” campaign in order to allow for humanitarian trade but has refused to budge any further, claiming that the current exemptions are enough. Murphy disagreed. 

He had penned a March 26 letter, signed by ten other Democratic senators, asking the Trump administration to ensure that Iran and Venezuela can import medical supplies and other humanitarian goods to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Murphy wrote on his Twitter page on April 6 that Iranians are dying of coronavirus partly because of U.S. sanctions. 

“Innocent civilians are dying there in part because our sanctions are limiting humanitarian aid during coronavirus,” he tweeted.

A number of Tunisian political activists and jurists have condemned the United States sanctions on Iran as the country is hit hard by the deadly coronavirus.

The activists and jurists have urged the U.S. to immediately lift sanctions on Iran given the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic, ISNA reported on April 14.

Khalid Shaukat, a Tunisian political activist, told Al-Ahed news website that the U.S. sanctions violate the human rights and are unacceptable.

“The danger of the coronavirus pandemic must make the humanity united and lead superpowers to stop adopting inhuman policies and pressure, because such policies impede the fight against the coronavirus,” he said.

Salah al-Dawoody, a researcher and university professor, told Al-Ahed that sanctions in the coronavirus pandemic have revealed the U.S. “ugly image” in Donald Trump’s presidential term and have also revealed Washington’s “brutal and criminal” nature.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the bans on Iran even exceed what would be “permissible in the battlefield” and called on the international community that it is “immoral” to succumb to illegal sanctions. 

Iran’s ambassador to the UN offices in Geneva has written a letter to the World Health Organization chief saying that sanctions against Iran exemplify “crimes against humanity”.

Abolfazl Mousavi, an Iranian MP, has said that in a situation in which the world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, imposing sanctions and refusing to lift them violate human rights.


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