Almost 1,500 people have reportedly died from the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Iran so far. That means that, outside of China and Italy, Iran is currently the country that has suffered the most from the pandemic.
US sanctions on Iran in recent years have already been devastating. But Washington’s response to Iran’s coronavirus crisis has been sickening. Because amid calls to drop the sanctions (even if just temporarily), Donald Trump’s government has actually extended them.
‘Crimes against humanity’?
Iran has long been a key regime-change target for the US. And under Trump, the US government has chosen to wage economic war on Iran via devastating sanctions. Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, who co-authored a report showing how US sanctions on Venezuela led to more than 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018, previously told The Canary that:
US policies vis-à-vis Iran and Venezuela are cruel and most likely constitute crimes against humanity.
As The Canary has detailed previously, sanctions often harm civilians much more than government targets. And that seems to be the situation playing out in Iran today.
On 19 March, the Independent reported that a person was dying around every 10 minutes in the country. And a lack of supplies meant that doctors were having to treat sick people with no protection.
1 Iranian dies every 10 minutes. 50 Iranians are being infected every hour (Iran's Health Ministry)
Yet STILL, the US won't lift sanctions which prevent the purchase of medicines & medical supplies
Yet Americans are shocked when Iranians chant 'Death to America'?#Coronavirus
— Going Underground on RT (@Underground_RT) March 19, 2020
“An evil for which there are no words”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald said the US maintaining and increasing sanctions on Iran at this time of crisis was “monstrous” and “evil”:
Maintaining sanctions on Iran as they drown in this pandemic was already monstrous. Imposing further ones, as was done by the US this week, is an evil for which there are no words: https://t.co/DmVqn72GjP
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 18, 2020
Fellow journalist Ben Norton called the decision “utterly sociopathic”:
For 3 days in a row now, in the middle of a deadly coronavirus pandemic that is killing thousands of people in Iran, the criminal US rogue regime has imposed new sanctions targeting Iran. 3 days in a row. Utterly sociopathic https://t.co/E6onHtTPLe
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) March 19, 2020
One activist, meanwhile, stressed that US politicians supporting sanctions had ‘blood on their hands’:
Every day in Iran there are 1000+ new cases of #COVID. As the death toll rises so does construction on new mass graves. Today the US added new sanctions on Iran. This blood is on the hands of every member of US gov who supports sanctions. I'm out of words. https://t.co/gKT1Gi3VWW
— Hoda Katebi هدی کاتبی (@hodakatebi) March 18, 2020
Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders also criticised the continuation of sanctions during a “humanitarian disaster”:
Iran is facing a catastrophic toll from the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. sanctions should not be contributing to this humanitarian disaster.
As a caring nation, we must lift any sanctions hurting Iran’s ability to address this crisis, including financial sanctions. https://t.co/OBjff1nsxz
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 18, 2020
Washington’s ongoing sanctions against Iran at this time truly are inexplicably cruel. And every day that they continue should be an eternal stain on the US establishment’s highly questionable claim to be a champion of human rights.
Featured image via U.S. Department of State
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