The Trump administration’s abuse of sanctions to bully Iran is also affecting Iran’s neighbors and closest trading partners, especially Iraq:

Iranian natural gas is the single most critical energy import in Iraq, but American officials say purchases must end now because gas falls under the American sanctions. And the Trump administration has told Iraq’s leaders that they have until late March to end electricity purchases. Officials in Baghdad say there is no easy substitute for either one because it would take three years or more to adequately build up Iraq’s energy infrastructure.

Waging an unjustified economic war on one country is bad enough, but in their pursuit of strangling Iran’s economy they are also threatening both Iraq’s economy and its political stability. The Trump administration obviously isn’t concerned about the harm that its policies are doing to the populations in either country, but the rest of us should reject a policy that causes innocent people so much needless hardship and economic pain for no good reason. The administration’s bankrupt Iran policy can cause a great deal of suffering, but it isn’t going to change the Iranian regime or its behavior. That means that all of the suffering that these sanctions are causing and will cause will be for nothing.

It is natural that Iran and Iraq would have flourishing trade relations. If it were almost any other country in the world besides Iran, the U.S. would be applauding the development of stronger economic ties between two countries that had previously fought a war against each other. As it is, the U.S. seeks to impoverish Iranians, and to that end the administration is determined to throttle the economies of their neighbors as well.

We have already seen that Iraqis aren’t interested in letting their country be used as a base for anti-Iranian purposes. It is equally clear that they aren’t about to cooperate in destroying their own economy to satisfy an irrational American obsession with their neighbor. The Trump administration is wrong to pressure Iraq’s government to take obviously self-destructive actions, and the administration should be condemned for its senseless policy of collective punishment against the Iranian people.

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