US-led Sanctions Against Iran: Punishing Civilians for Having a Corrupt Government

Calchas

Iran

The US government wants to get rid of the Iranian government.  The US government has lead the way in imposing international trade sanctions against the Iranian economy in order to wear the government down.  While sanctions constrain the power of the Iranian government, it also makes Iranian people hate the Western governments that impose the sanctions and increases Iranian support for its government against a foreign aggressor (such sanctions are considered by many to be an act of war).

Although in writing the sanctions allow “humanitarian trade,” including medicine, sanctions against Iran’s banking sector have made it nearly impossible for many Iranians to obtain many life-saving medicines.  Reuters reported last month that US pharmaceutical exports to Iran were cut in half in 2012 from the previous year.  In January, the BBC reported on Iranians living in other countries who are resorting to illegal means to keep their family members alive back home:

“Her 60-year-old brother Ibrahim, who lives in Tehran, takes Qualaquin, an anti-malaria drug, to keep his pacemaker functioning since his heart surgery.”

“”That’s the only way I can take that medicine to my brother to give it to him before he dies,” she said.

“I want to scream. Why do they do this to people? At least let the people have the medicine. Who cares about Apple phone or this or that?””

The logic appears to be that the US is willing to cause the deaths of Iranian civilians and make life miserable to weaken the government.  Unfortunately, the US has used this strategy in the not so distant past to similarly devastating effects:

“Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright under Clinton: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

-60 Minutes (5/12/96)

Denis Halliday had served as a United Nations official for 34 years, including two years as assistant general-secretary, but resigned so he could speak out against the Iraq-targeted sanctions.  Speaking at Cornell in 1999, he said, “”For me what is tragic, in addition to the tragedy of Iraq itself, is the fact that the United Nations Security Council member states … are maintaining a program of economic sanctions deliberately, knowingly killing thousands of Iraqis each month. And that definition fits genocide.”

This is what US politicians had to say about our present-day sanctions against Iran:

“In the words of a leading advocate and architect of the policy, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), the goal of the sanctions should explicitly be to “take the food out of the mouths of the [Iranian] citizens”.

Another leading proponent, House Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), has said “Critics of sanctions argue that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.” Kirk has also stated his position that the objective of the sanctions should be to collapse the Iranian economy until it “becomes like North Korea“, where millions have starved to death in recent years due to crippling food shortages and the breakdown of national infrastructure.”

Our politicians must be stopped.

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