US response to Iran’s coronavirus disaster described as ‘an evil for which there are no words’

Iranian and US flags side by side
Ed Sykes

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.

“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”:

Fellow journalist Ben Norton called the decision “utterly sociopathic”:

One activist, meanwhile, stressed that US politicians supporting sanctions had ‘blood on their hands’:

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders also criticised the continuation of sanctions during a “humanitarian disaster”:

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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  • Show Comments
    1. Not only is is cruel, it’s simply stupid. The virus obeys no boundaries. Dimwit Donald’s description of it as Chinese, because that’s where it originated, is a sully attempt to politicise a medical emergency which fits with the foolishness of watching the virus take off in Iran. It has to be suppressed everywhere for us all to be safe. It will almost certainly mutate and is likely to become a worldwide annual affliction. Once a vaccine exists, we can hold it back as we do with ‘flu, but that kills large numbers every winter. Letting the virus run free, anywhere in the world, is the worst policy. It increases its chances of mutating in ways which make it more difficult to conquer. In the face of the virus we are one humanity. The virus makes no distinction between Iranian and American DNA. A pity it takes such a crisis to teach us this lesson. Here we are, pulling together against a common enemy. Why don’t we always pull together? Why don’t we always recognise our shared humanity? The differences between us are exciting and interesting. They enhance our humanity. We should celebrate rather than fear them. The virus is the focus of our fear. Once we’ve overcome it, let’s not forget our shared humanity.

      1. Oh thank you for saying it, I couldn’t agree more, though let’s be clear, I do not hate or dislike Americans, just the fucked up system and individuals making an utter mockery of their democratic, and humanitarian ideals.

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