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Human rights groups call on Trump administration to end Iran sanctions amid COVID-19 crisis

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Last week, over 25 groups called on the Trump administration to end its sanctions on Iran amid the COVID-19 crisis. The virus has been particularly calamitous for Iran: at the time this piece was written the country had 21,638 confirmed cases and 1,685 people had been killed by it. U.S. sanctions have no doubt worsened the situation, as they’ve weakened Iran’s economy and thus made it more difficult to secure goods.

NIAC Action, J Street, Truman National Security Project, MoveOn and a number of other organizations sent a letter to President Trump, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for an immediate suspension of the sanctions for at least 120 days.

“To help stem the continued spread of the virus inside Iran and beyond, we urge you to issue a time-bound suspension of those U.S. sanctions that make it harder for ordinary Iranians to secure basic goods and services to weather the crisis,” reads the letter, “Doing so would not just serve U.S. interests in helping contain the further spread of the virus, but would also be a powerful humanitarian gesture to the more than 80 million Iranians suffering under the pandemic.”

Not only has the Trump administration neglected to lift its sanctions on Iran, last week it slapped a new round of them on the country. Pompeo said the new sanctions will target the country’s petrochemical industry “and further Iran’s economic and diplomatic isolation.”

Some lawmakers have recently called on the administration to stop the sanctions in response to COVID-19. “A person dies from coronavirus every 10 minutes in Iran 50 become infected every hour,” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), “Keeping in place economic sanctions on Iran right now is just supervillain-level cruelty.”

“Iran is facing a catastrophic toll from the coronavirus pandemic,” tweeted Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, “U.S. sanctions should not be contributing to this humanitarian disaster. As a caring nation, we must lift any sanctions hurting Iran’s ability to address this crisis, including financial sanctions.”

China’s government has also pushed the United States to change their policy amid the crisis. “We urge the US to immediately lift unilateral sanction on Iran,” tweeted China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, “Continued sanction is against humanitarianism and hampers Iran’s epidemic response & delivery of humanitarian aid by the UN and other organizations.”

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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33 Responses

  1. Misterioso on March 23, 2020, 1:55 pm

    Given the fact that multi-billionaire Zionist zealot, Sheldon Adelson pulls his strings, there is no chance that Trump will heed the request of Human rights groups and “end Iran sanctions amid COVID-19 crisis.”

    BTW, here’s a must watch most revealing video profile of Sheldon Adelson:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EayCLyuCFv8

    “Sheldon Adelson owns the Republican Party” October 31, 2018

  2. Kay24 on March 24, 2020, 5:19 am

    This is so devastating and sad. Those poor people do not deserve to suffer this way. America has become a heartless, soulless nation, vicious and yes, evil. Trump has shown no mercy for these long suffering people, and now is not the time to impose these sanctions that are inhumane, and cruel. Why are other nations wringing their hands and looking to America? Trump has shown a mean streak, and the suffering of helpless civilians, does not seem to move him. They should take matters into their own hands and give the Iranians the desperately needed help that they urgently need.
    What kind of religion would will condone of such wickedness? We have become the an evil empire.

  3. Jackdaw on March 24, 2020, 11:33 am

    Trump should help Italy and Spain first.

    After all, they are our allies.
    Iran’s mantra for forty years hast been, ‘Death to America’, and even now, god-king Khameani accuses America
    of launching a “biological weapon,” at Iran designed to harm Iranians.

    What time is it?
    Time for the mullahs to go.

    • eljay on March 24, 2020, 12:25 pm

      || Jackdaw: Trump should help Italy and Spain first. … ||

      Trump doesn’t have to help Iran – he just has to stop deliberately hurting Iran.

      || … Iran’s mantra for forty years hast been, ‘Death to America’ … ||

      Looks like the America’s dedication to screwing over Iran and its people for decades has paid off.

      || … What time is it?
      Time for the mullahs to go. ||

      Yup, be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go.

      • Jackdaw on March 24, 2020, 3:17 pm

        Iran has only to abide by the Secretary Pompeo’s 12 demands by the Trump administration requires in order for it to lift the sanctions on Iran.

        A simple quid pro quo.

      • eljay on March 24, 2020, 6:08 pm

        || Jackdaw: Iran has only to abide by the Secretary Pompeo’s 12 demands … ||

        Both Iran and the U.S. should respect international laws and human rights, not Pompeo’s 12 arbitrary demands. It’s both strange and disturbing that you Zionists insist on undermining protections that apply both to Israel and to Jews in their homelands throughout the world.

    • catalan on March 24, 2020, 12:47 pm

      “Yup, be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go.”
      One need not like Israelis – but it’s a fact that Israeli politicians are elected, whereas Iran is run by an unelected group of clerics. It would be interesting to find out how Iranians would vote in a free election; especially if they could choose a president instead of the Auatollah.

      • eljay on March 24, 2020, 12:58 pm

        || catalan: “Yup, be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go.”
        One need not like Israelis … ||

        Zionists seem compelled to distort comments. Mine was about supremacist leaders, not Israelis.

        || … Israeli politicians are elected, whereas Iran is run by an unelected group of clerics. … ||

        Israel’s leaders are supremacists. Iran’s leaders are supremacists. Be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go.

      • catalan on March 24, 2020, 2:15 pm

        “Be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go.”
        I hear you eljay, loud and clear. It’s also time for Corona to go and the stocks to come back up. What you can do about any of it, is less clear.

      • eljay on March 24, 2020, 2:37 pm

        || catalan: “Be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go.”
        I hear you eljay, loud and clear. … ||

        You’re a Zionist – your hearing is highly selective at best.

      • catalan on March 24, 2020, 2:59 pm

        “You’re a Zionist”
        I enjoyed my visits to Israel and have some relatives there. I liked the country and I think it is a good thing it’s there. I am indifferent to its politics, don’t speak much Hebrew, don’t attend any religious rituals and am more than ignorant of Zionist writers. Be that is may if that’s what constitutes a “Zionist” in your definition then I am a Zionist. It’s a little bit like saying that a guy who visits the Soviet Union and liked some stuff and doesn’t think the country should disappear is a communist. When I read about Zionism in Wikipedia, it has nothing to do with me. But we already know that you have your own definitions of things differing from encyclopedias and stuff so more power to you.

      • eljay on March 24, 2020, 6:01 pm

        || catalan on March 24, 2020, 2:59 pm ||

        “be they Islamic or Jewish it’s time for supremacists to go” is a straightforward, moral sentiment. No reasonable, moral person should have any trouble agreeing with. It’s no surprise that the best you can muster is another typically snotty post.

    • Misterioso on March 24, 2020, 1:07 pm

      @Jackdaw

      “What time is it?

      It’s long since time (now 72 years) that the U.S. ceased funding “Israel” with about $15 million per day in tax-payer provided aid. It is also time that the U.S. cast “Israel” adrift to fend on its own. Afterall, it is blatantly obvious that supporting a racist, fascistic, expansionist, illegal/brutal occupier and serial violator of hard won international humanitarian law is not serving America’s interests. Indeed, as the historical record clearly attests, all “Israel” has done is create enemies of America.

    • Kay24 on March 24, 2020, 5:24 pm

      They are not asking for help from the US. All they want is for the sanctions to be lifted so that they can save the lives of their people. Whatever Iran’s mantra has been, America actions have killed thousands of innocent people, which is far more deadly than mantras.
      The Trump/Bin Salman/Netanyahu policies to punish Iran, are cruel, and evil.
      The Iranians have been punished by three vicious people, for no reason, despite the UN monitors confirming they were adhering to the conditions imposed by the Nuclear deal. That is being unnecessarily cruel to the men, women, and children, who now suffer.
      We have seen equally bad statements coming from Israel, against the Iranians. So let’s not pretend one side is a saint.

  4. oldgeezer on March 24, 2020, 12:27 pm

    @jackdaw

    displaying the usual lack of humanity.

    Zionism is a cult which celebrates murder and death,

    • catalan on March 24, 2020, 12:51 pm

      “Zionism is a cult which celebrates murder and death,” Oldgeezer
      An almost perfect inversion of reality. This is a quote:

      “From the Al-Qassam Brigades to the Zionist soldiers: The Al-Qassam Brigades love death more than you love life.”

      • Misterioso on March 24, 2020, 1:56 pm

        @catalan

        Your comment in response to oldgeezer in no way negates his assertion that ‘Zionism is a cult which celebrates murder and death.’

      • oldgeezer on March 24, 2020, 1:58 pm

        no it’ s not an inversion of reality catalan. From celebrating the murder of children, stabbing pictures of babies to celebrate a wedding ffs , to calling and working for the deaths of countless nonjews, zionism is s pure death cult.

        murder inc.

      • oldgeezer on March 24, 2020, 2:01 pm

        @jackdaw

        Marxist? Not me. I’m living off of investments. I do tend to be concerned about the welfare of others which makes me partially a socialist. i’d even confess strongly socialist. but marxist? I doubt you even know what they means other than as a soundbite.

        Israel will likely be there long after I’m gone. I know my own age and the realities of life.

        That doesn’t change what zionism is and doesn’t offset the complete lack of humanity in you.

    • Jackdaw on March 24, 2020, 1:37 pm

      @bent tweezer

      You and your die hard Marxist cronies can shake your Little Red Book in our faces, but it’s not going to change anything.

      Your Marxism has long been consigned to the scrap heap, and
      Israel will exist longer after you are gone.

      • Misterioso on March 24, 2020, 2:11 pm

        @Jackdaw

        “…Israel will exist longer after you are gone.”

        Dream on. Among many other long gone foreigners throughout history, the Crusaders occupied Palestine for about 200 years. The Zionist occupation will prove to be be one of the shortest. Indeed, the evidence clearly shows that “Israel” is rapidly rotting within and increasingly viewed around the world, incuding all important America, as a fascistic pariah. The Zionist leadership is in panic mode given the accelerating emigration of Jews from “Israel” and the rapidly decreasing number immigrating to “Israel.” The writing is on the wall. It’s only a matter of time.

      • Kay24 on March 24, 2020, 5:26 pm

        Don’t get too hopeful, even the Nazi’s did not last long.

  5. Jackdaw on March 24, 2020, 2:58 pm

    @mister zero

    Israel’s existence has been extended a while now that your Iranian golem is returning to dust.

    Keep looking and hoping for another hero to vanquish Israel.

    Look long and hard.

    • jon s on March 24, 2020, 5:47 pm

      Misterioso,
      Actually immigration to Israel is increasing and emigration is decreasing , based on figures from recent years.
      The population of Israel is growing nicely.
      (Although who knows what the impact of the virus crisis will be…)

      • catalan on March 24, 2020, 6:11 pm

        “(Although who knows what the impact of the virus crisis will be…)” Jon
        My two cents – it’s not quite as bad as it seems at first. We also first were in shock – Walmart empty, the restaurants closed, the zombie apocalypse. But societies adapt to the new reality super fast. A few more weeks and it goes away. It’s just a bit of a surprise to all of us but it is not nearly as bad as it seems at first. Working from home ain’t so bad either. It will be ok. It’s communism – the government will send us checks but no rice and beans in the stores:)

      • Keith on March 26, 2020, 11:39 am

        CATALAN- “A few more weeks and it goes away.”

        Dream on. The COVID-19 pandemic is the trigger event for the orchestrated collapse of the current system and attempted transition to a type of neofeudal society. The response to the outbreak has been so wildly disproportionate to the threat and of such a nature that the global political economy will be profoundly changed. This is the end of the current hydrocarbon era I have long predicted. The extent of societal indoctrination and control is truly amazing.

      • catalan on March 26, 2020, 2:55 pm

        “The response to the outbreak has been so wildly disproportionate to the threat” Keith
        I don’t know Keith – this disease sounds pretty horrible to me. The issue is that it so contagious for two weeks before any symptoms. I sure am terrified of getting it. I had a cold last year that got me to 103 fever and I thought I wasn’t gonna make it. I don’t think I can deal with some wild bat disease.

      • Keith on March 27, 2020, 10:47 am

        CATALAN- “I had a cold last year that got me to 103 fever and I thought I wasn’t gonna make it.”

        Glad you are feeling better, however, this in no way contradicts my assertion that the COVID-19 pandemic is a pretext for a massive restructuring of the global political economy.

      • catalan on March 27, 2020, 11:56 am

        “that the COVID-19 pandemic is a pretext for a massive restructuring of the global political economy.” Keith
        Be that is may, avoid people at all costs. This is a disease of the lungs and you (and I) might not make it through. And if we do, it’s not clear what it does to the lungs and liver long term. And it causes enormous suffering. Stay home.

      • Keith on March 27, 2020, 6:19 pm

        CATALAN- “And it causes enormous suffering.”

        The suffering caused by the medical consequences of COVID-19 infection will pale in comparison to the suffering the 99% will suffer both from the response to the pandemic and particularly from the consequences of the restructuring of the global political economy.

      • Keith on March 28, 2020, 11:15 am

        “…the consequences of the restructuring of the global political economy.”

        To clarify, at this stage of the game the choice may be between imposed authoritarian governmental control justified by the COVID-19 pandemic or the near term chaotic social collapse caused by financial collapse, environmental collapse and/or limited nuclear war. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (writ large) will not be temporary but will become the new normal until the final environmental reckoning which will shortly follow.

      • catalan on March 28, 2020, 11:29 am

        “The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (writ large) will not be temporary” Keith
        They bailed out the state and local govermnents so that’s good. It means that my co-workers and I will continue to have a job, a worry I did not have a month or two ago.

  6. Jackdaw on March 24, 2020, 3:12 pm

    @zer0

    Iran rejects aid from French Doctors Without Borders.

    https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Medical-NGO-MSF-surprised-by-Iran-decision-to-cancel-coronavirus-mission-622201

    If you want to learn something about ‘rapidly rotting from within’, watch what’s happening to the theocratic nazis running Iran (into the ground).

    Watch and learn.

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