The Trump administration’s unjustified reimposition of nuclear sanctions is already hurting Iranians in need of medical treatment:
While humanitarian goods such as medicine are exempt from US sanctions, which were reimposed after President Trump withdrew the United States from the multinational deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, the severe banking restrictions that are part of the sanctions regime have just as negative an effect.
Even with a specific license from the US Treasury to transfer charitable donations to Mahak, banks normally used by the Iranian charity in Europe won’t forward the cash, it says.
“You want to talk about realities?” asks Arasb Ahmadian, the chief executive officer of Mahak. “The reality is that no companies, no banks want to be involved in any operation with Iran’s name, because they don’t know what will happen to them.”
Strangling Iran’s economy was always going to harm and impoverish the civilian population, and anyone that supports these sanctions is in favor of inflicting collective punishment on the people. Iran sanctions may not specifically target imported medicines, but they have the same effect of depriving ailing people of the medicine they need. This is going to cause needless hardship, suffering, and in some cases even death that could have been avoided. We saw earlier this month that the administration is willing to sanction legitimate banks that handle humanitarian trade because they are seven or eight degrees removed from the main target of the sanctions. Ordinary Iranians are being made to pay the price for policies they don’t control and can’t change, and regime hard-liners stand to gain from both the profits of smuggling and increased political support in response to U.S. hostility to the country.
Najmeh Bozorgmehr comments on the reaction to U.S. hostility inside Iran:
Alongside that, today both reformists and many ordinary Iranians see the imposition of oil sanctions against Iran as a modern version of the 1953 military coup, when the US helped royalists overthrow the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh and stop the nationalisation of the country’s oil industry.
Hardliners find the US’s newly hostile approach a godsend. Many people have lost hope in reforms and a prosperous future. Some threaten never to vote again. If this mood persists, hardliners can count on a low turnout to help them win the next parliamentary and presidential polls in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Iran hawks thrive on the empowerment of Iranian hard-liners, who in turn feed off of the aggressive and destructive policies pushed by our Iran hawks. Our hawks obviously don’t care about the devastating effects that sanctions have on the people, because they are interested only in stoking tensions and creating the conditions for confrontation and conflict. The losers in all this are the Iranian people, who are forced to endure the corruption and mismanagement of their own government and the destructive cruelty of ours.