Yesterday a U.N. expert criticized U.S. sanctions on Iran because of the harm they are doing to the civilian population:

A United Nations expert has criticized the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran following the withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, saying they are driving “millions of people into poverty.”

UN Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy made the comments in an August 22 statement, after the United States earlier this month started reimposing sanctions on the Iranian economy that had been lifted under the nuclear agreement in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Trump administration won’t be swayed by this criticism, but it should make the rest of us recognize how cruel and unjust our government’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran is. The more “successful” the administration’s policy is in strangling Iran’s economy, the more the Iranian people will be immiserated. This is extremely unlikely to produce the changes in regime behavior that the administration claims to want, but it will punish tens of millions of people for no good reason. It can’t be stressed enough that reimposing these sanctions after the Trump administration violated the nuclear deal is completely unjustified.

Iran is being sanctioned for things that it is no longer doing, and it is being punished despite its compliance with the JCPOA. This shows how thoroughly dishonest the administration is being when it says that it wants Iran to be a “normal” country. Iran is abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal, and in doing so it is respecting international law, but instead of being rewarded for that constructive behavior Iran is being singled out for special abuse because this administration is bent on regime change.

The collective punishment of the Iranian people is wrong, and it puts the lie to administration claims that they want the people of Iran to prosper. If the administration had the slightest interest in helping the Iranian people, it would not be trying to degrade and humiliate their country. Meanwhile, suffocating Iran’s economy will aid the regime in tightening its grip and bolster the political forces inside Iran that are most hostile to the U.S. Our Iran policy is unjust, and it is also remarkably stupid.