“in Tehran and in the neighborhoods children want to live!”
Tonight in the Daily demonstrations in front of the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Against attack in Iran
Every night at eight! King Saul Street, corner of Ibn Gbriol
Photo by: Assaf Peretz
- 13 August 2012
- Dave Lindorff
Iranians suffering from cancer, MS, kidney disease or other diseases — many of them children — are reportedly being prevented from getting needed medicines because of US sanctions.
By Dave Lindorff
13 August 2012
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE Madeleine Albright should be a happy camper: Another campaign of sanctions and embargoes by the US is about to start killing children, this time in Iran.
Albright, as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, when interviewed on CBS’s news magazine program “60 Minutes” back in 2000, was asked by reporter Lesley Stahl about reports that US sanctions on Iraq had led to the deaths of some 500,000 Iraqi children because of shortages of medicine and things like chlorine for treating water supplies. Stahl asked Albright if such a dreadful toll was “worth it.” Albright famously responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”
Albright must be happy then that apparently the same kind of heartless logic is at work once more, this time orchestrated by the Obama administration and the current Secretary of State, It Takes a Village author and self-styled child advocate Hillary Clinton.
According to a letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon by the head of Iran’s Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, the current US-led sanctions campaign against Iranian financial institutions and efforts to prevent western banks from doing business with Iran have made it next to impossible for Iranian doctors and hospitals to obtain medicines from abroad for such relatively rare but serious diseases as hemophilia, Multiple sclerosis (MS), various cancers, kidney failure and thalassemia.
The tightening of international screws on Iranian financial transactions has also made it hard for domestic makers of some of these medicines in Iran to obtain the raw materials needed to manufacture needed medicines locally, according to the letter.
Fatemeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the author of the letter, called on the secretary general to act to prevent the sanctions campaign from harming an estimated 6 million Iranians who suffer from these diseases. She said that the sanctions had already “directly affected the lives and well-being of thousands of patients.”
The US-led campaign to squeeze Iran economically is an effort to pressure the Iranian public to make their country’s leaders shut down a completely legal effort to develop a domestic nuclear fuel enrichment program.
Iranians suffering from cancer, MS, kidney disease or other diseases — many of them children — are reportedly being prevented from getting needed medicines because of a fear by Israel and its backer, the US, that Iran’s nuclear programmight lead in the future to Iran’s developing a nuclear bomb capability, becoming the second nuclear nation in the Middle East, ending Israel’s nuclear monopoly.
Although US intelligence services concede that there is no evidence that Iran is currently trying to develop a nuclear bomb, the possibility that this might happen in the future is apparently justification enough for threatening the lives of critically ill Iranian citizens.
The US sanctions on Iran will no doubt also create problems for victims of Iran’s latest disaster — a pair of earthquakes, 6.4 and 6.3 on the Richter Scale, which struck in the country’s northwestern region Saturday, killing several hundred people and leaving over 16,000 homeless. Hospitals, some of them damaged, were reportedly overcrowded and were struggling to obtain medicines. The US, through its USAID program, sent in a planeload of supplies–bottled water, blankets “personal hygiene kits” — to Tehran, which Washington valued at $350,000, and also provided another $50,000 through the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, but that aid is a pittance compared to the supplies that are being deliberately blocked by sanctions-related constraints on Iranian international payments.
No one should be surprised by this ruthless victimization of children and the sick by Washington in the name of realpolitik. In Cuba, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, there was an epidemic of blindness and vision damage among children because of the inability of Cuba, the subject of a decades-long US trade embargo, to obtain necessary food and especially vitamin A.
Secretary Albright probably thinks that disaster was also “worth it.”
Is killing 500,000 women and children the way to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons?
- 06 August 2012
- Jamal Abdi &Trita Parsi
The aim is to bankrupt the country and cause economic collapse, provoking mass suffering — ordinary people in Iran are no longer collateral damage, but the intended targets of sanctions.
By Jamal Abdi & Trita Parsi
3 August 2012
It is Iran’s women and children, not the Iranian regime, who will be the victims of the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.
THE NEW sanctions against Iran last week are considered the strongest the United States “has ever imposed on any country during peacetime.”
While this is being celebrated as a way to prevent war, support human rights in Iran and stop Iran’s nuclear program, America’s past experience with sanctions shows that this is far from the case.
The previous high-water mark for US sanctions — on Iraq — is a case in point. Years of stringent economic sanctions supposedly aimed at Saddam Hussein caused massive humanitarian suffering among ordinary Iraqis. The sanctions led to the deaths of an estimated 500,000 Iraqi women and children, while entrenching Hussein’s regime.
Ultimately, the strategy culminated in a war and occupation that is widely viewed as one of the greatest strategic blunders since Vietnam.
With Iran, the United States is pursuing a policy of collective punishment, which is disconcerting not just because of the ghastly failures of such measures in the past, but because collective punishment is a violation of international human rights law.
The abhorrent human rights abuses of the Iranian regime have been well exposed, thanks to the work of human rights organizations and the United Nations. But Iranians don’t just suffer under the repression of a regime that is rightly punished for its human rights violations — they are also suffering under US collective punishment sanctions that are preventing food and medicine from reaching ordinary Iranians, are blocking off communication tools from human rights and democracy defenders, and are aimed at collapsing the Iranian economy and all of the ordinary people under it.
The drafters of the most recently passed US measure stated: “The bill aims to prevent Iran from repatriating any of the revenue it receives from the sale of its crude oil, depriving Iran of hard currency earnings and funds to run its state budget.” In other words, the idea is to bankrupt Iran, cause hyperinflation to crash the rial and collapse the economy, and provoke mass suffering.
It would be one thing if these measures were aimed at denying the Iranian government financing for its nefarious activities. But that’s not even the stated goal. Ordinary people in Iran are no longer collateral damage, but the intended targets of sanctions.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights codifies economic rights as a human right to which all members of society are entitled. The Fourth Geneva Convention states that parties “shall allow the free passage . . . of medical and hospital stores” and “essential foodstuffs.”
Yet in Iran, the price of food has skyrocketed. There are almost no channels for transactions of food products that are supposed to be exempted from the sanctions. Private businesses are increasingly unable to operate in a sanctions economy. Organizations like the Iranian Hemophilia Society are reporting that access to medicine is being closed off, and the lives of tens of thousands of children are now at risk. Testing for education programs abroad is being cut off for Iranian students.
These are all abuses of human rights — due to the sanctions.
Few believe sanctions will make Iran halt its nuclear program. Rather, it is more likely that the Iranian regime will respond to the pressure by escalating the conflict. Beyond destabilizing the Persian Gulf — with skyrocketing oil prices as a result — Tehran may also decide to dash for a nuclear bomb, a decision US intelligence says Iran has not yet made.
Nor are sanctions likely to bring about positive change inside Iran. While economic collapse can bring down a regime, it will most likely not give birth to democracy.
Rather, if sanctions cause the theocracy in Iran to fall, against all odds, it is more probable that we will see a collapse of the state, followed by internal fighting — and perhaps a Syrian-style civil war. The region will be further destabilized, and extremism will find a new breeding ground. Human suffering will be immeasurable.
Policymakers may say these are unintended consequences, yet in the same breath they acknowledge that the goal is to collapse Iran’s economy. Many in Washington acknowledge that we are conducting economic warfare. That means the entire Iranian economy is the battlefield — and ordinary Iranians are enemy combatants.