Home/Daniel Larison/‘Maximum Pressure’ Kills Innocent Iranians

‘Maximum Pressure’ Kills Innocent Iranians

CBS News reports on the harmful effects of the Trump administration’s Iran sanctions:

Technically, medicines are exempt from U.S. sanctions, but the financial transactions to purchase them in the global marketplace are not. Imports have dropped by 80%, and the cost for the tiny amount of drugs that do make it in has skyrocketed.

For parents at Mahek who learn their child’s cancer has come back, the agony is worsened when the cocktail of drugs needed to keep a child alive simply isn’t available.

Four-year-old Mahdi’s mother told correspondent Imtiaz Tyab that the most doctors can do now for her only child is keep him comfortable.

It is undeniable that U.S. sanctions imposed over the last year have had a devastating effect on the Iranian economy and the lives of tens of millions of Iranians. In the case of this young cancer patient, the effect of our government’s policy has been to make it impossible for him to receive the treatment that he needs to survive. The economic war on Iran causes greater hardship for the entire population, and in this case that translates to depriving a sick child of essential medicine. For Mahdi, U.S. sanctions have been a death sentence, and the same is true for many more Iranians with rare and serious illnesses who are cut off from accessing the medicine they require.

The report continues:

Dr. Shabnam Hemati, who heads the pharmaceuticals department, told Tyab that people are losing their lives because they cannot get drugs.

“What do you say to a parent whose child has cancer, that the drug is available outside Iran but not inside Iran?” asked Tyab.

“I tell them to pray and be sure that we are with you and we know your pain,” she replied.

Doctors couldn’t say how many children have died because of the inability to bring in medicine. But the charity’s CEO told CBS News with 80% fewer drugs coming in you only have to do the math.

As Abbas Kebariaeezadeh pointed out in his article last week, the sanctions prevent payment to bring in medicine from the outside, and they prevent bringing in the ingredients that domestic pharmaceutical companies need to make medicine in Iran. Many more cancer patients and others dependent on imported medicine are suffering in the same way as this young boy, and their families are being forced to watch their loved ones perish because they are cut off from the medications they need. This is the foreseeable and predicted result of the economic war that the U.S. has been waging against the Iranian people. Innocent Iranians are dying for the sake of a cruel and unjustified policy of “maximum pressure” that achieves nothing except to inflict more pain and misery.

The weakest and most vulnerable people in a targeted country are always the first casualties of sanctions, and in Iran that means condemning sick children to die in a vain attempt to compel their government to capitulate to unreasonable demands. Economic wars destroy and end lives, and they seem to be good for nothing except causing destruction. The U.S. needs to halt this economic war, and it needs to renounce collective punishment from now on.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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