No war over trade!

Iran and Venezuela should be able to trade in peace!

Iranian trade ships are headed to Venezuela as part of a simple fuel for gold barter, but the U.S. has threatened retaliatory measures and could intercept the ships, which would be an act of piracy and war. Tell Defense Secretary Mark Esper that the United States should fight Covid-19, not Iran or Venezuela!

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper,

It is alarming that tensions are rising over the upcoming arrival of five Iranian trading ships to Venezuela. A senior administration official said that this shipment of fuel is “unwelcome by the United States”, which is “looking at measures that can be taken.”

Under no circumstances should those measures include intercepting, seizing, threatening or otherwise disrupting those vessels. No measures should be taken at all, given that Iran and Venezuela have a right to trade in peace. As you know, the U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela are illegal under international law. As such, actions taken by the United States under the pretext of enforcing sanctions will also be illegal.

The Iranian government has warned that it will make a “quick and decisive response” should its tankers be threatened or harmed, which could spark a wider conflict in the Persian Gulf. For its part, the Venezuelan government has said that any interference with ships carrying oil or fuel to or from Venezuela would be a “flagrant violation of international law and the fundamental rights of Venezuelans.”

The Iranian and Venezuelan peoples are suffering greatly as a result of the U.S. imposed sanctions. That they are engaging in trade is normal, especially since countries and corporations around the world are avoiding business with them out of fear of being sanctioned. The U.S. government knows that the trade involves a fuel for gold barter - there is nothing nefarious or criminal going on.

In fact, the threat of criminal action is coming from the United States. Piracy is a crime that could lead to war. To threaten a war over trade is immoral at any time, but to do so as the world, including the American people, suffers under the Covid-19 pandemic would be grossly inhumane.

I hope that you will take a step towards peace by ordering the U.S. Navy to not interfere with the trade vessels.

Thank you,

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