Last month I traveled to Iran with a group of 11 peace delegates. It was our second peace delegation this year to visit the country and learn how ordinary people are coping with the Trump administration’s harsh economic sanctions.
A few days after my return, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report was released on the effect of these sanctions on the Iranian people. “The overbroad and burdensome nature of the US sanctions has led banks and companies around the world to pull back from humanitarian trade with Iran, leaving Iranians who have rare or complicated diseases unable to get the medicine and treatment they require,” it read. To make matters worse, the Trump administration has indicated that such effects are intentional. "Things are much worse for the Iranian people [with the US sanctions],” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bragged to CBS news.
Intentionally denying people life-saving medicines is not only cruel, but it is a violation of international law. Contact your senators and congressperson now and ask them to ensure that humanitarian goods — food and medicine — are able to get into Iran.
The Peace Museum in Tehran was among the places our delegation visited. We learned there that during the Iran-Iraq war, around 100,000 Iranians — including some of the museum’s guides — were exposed to chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein had acquired with the help of the U.S. government. Fellow delegate and Jewish Voice for Peace board member Beth Harris wrote about how, “our guides through the Peace Museum still suffered terribly from the wounds from Iraq’s chemical weapons, and salting their wounds now are the US sanctions that prevent much-needed medicines from entering their country.” According to the HRW report, those suffering most severely from the sanctions are patients with leukemia, epidermolysis bullosa, epilepsy and, yes, chronic eye injuries from exposure to chemical weapons.
The Trump administration knows that intentionally using sanctions to deny people food and medicine is a violation of international law. So on October 25, four days before the Human Rights Watch report was published, the US Treasury and State Department announced a “new humanitarian mechanism” for trade with Iran. The announcement was an implicit acknowledgment by the Trump administration that broad US sanctions on Iran have restricted the flow of humanitarian goods into the country, but the new mechanism is so burdensome and invasive that it may have the opposite effect, making it even harder for companies to engage in humanitarian trade with Iran. Tell Congress to join with us denouncing the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION for denying life-saving medicines to the Iranian people and demand that sanctions restricting food and medicine be lifted immediately!
In solidarity with the people of Iran,
Ariel and the entire CODPEPINK team: Ann, Caroline, Carley, Clara, Enas, Jodie, Leonardo, Mark, Medea, Megan, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, Teri, Tighe, and Zena
PS: Check out our blogs from Iran, and read about the beautiful country and its people. Even education is affected by the sanctions. That’s why we are running a Books Not Bombs for Iran fundraiser to supply Iran’s University with book. Donate now!