By M.A. Saki

Mad sanctions

October 9, 2020 - 21:17

TEHRAN - On Thursday, the Trump administration introduced sweeping new sanctions targeting Iran's remaining financial sector.

Sanctions target eighteen Iranian banks. These are the latest move in Washington’s "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that the sanctions show “our commitment to stop” what he called Iran’s “illicit access to U.S. dollars.”

Mnuchin claimed that "sanctions will continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people". Secretary of State Pompeo also claimed the sanctions "do not affect existing authorizations and exceptions for humanitarian exports to Iran." 

Iranian central banker Abdolnaser Hemmati said a number of these 18 banks “had the duty for transfer of resources for buying medicine and food.”

Even before such sweeping sanctions, foreign banks and companies were reluctant to do permitted humanitarian transactions with Iran, fearing secondary sanctions.

Such comprehensive sanctions come as Iran is one of the hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic. With just 80 million population, the number of Covid-19 fatalities has reached more than 200 per day.

At such a critical moment that sweeping financial bans were declared it was ridiculous that Pompeo issued a statement claiming that "the United States continues to stand with the Iranian people.”

Experts have warned the sanctions will make it harder to get humanitarian goods into Iran.

"It's going to make it even harder for Iran to get ahold of food and medicine unless the Europeans do something gutsy," said Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council. "It's going to hurt a lot more people. It certainly will bring a lot of people to their knees, but it will not bring down the Islamic Republic, it will just intensify their hatred for the United States."

Slavin told CNN that imposing the new sanctions amid rising coronavirus cases in Iran is "particularly cruel," calling it "sadism masquerading as sanctions."

New sanctions are so brutal and merciless, that according to CNN, even some officials at the State Department have acknowledged that the sanctions could have unintended consequences.

There are some reasons for such thoughtless anti-human measures. The most important reason is that the U.S. administration is disappointed and angry that even Washington’s European allies at the UN Security Council rebuffed as illegal a desperate move by Trump and his “secretary of hate” to return the UN sanctions against Iran. 

Another reason is that Trump and his most die-hard minions may be feeling that they are losing the battle against Joe Biden in the November 3 elections and therefore in the remaining time they should do the last blow to the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

However, neither rebuff of UN sanctions nor a possible loss in the presidential elections will justify starving Iranians and making it impossible for them to buy medicine.

Trump and his team have already committed economic and medical crimes against Iranians to please hawks in the U.S., criminals in Israel, and some subservient rulers in Riyadh.

Even when Iraq was subject to sanctions in the 1990s and early 2000s, a clear mechanism was ironed out by the United Nations to allow Iraq to sell oil to buy food and medicine. 

But now Trump and his team are going wild in their illegal sanctions regime against Iran. They are imposing mad sanctions on the entire Iranian population. They want collective punishment. 

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