U.S. sanctions on Iran are making its coronavirus crisis worse. Ilhan Omar is calling for them to be suspended.

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COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Iran, where at least 14,000 people have been infected and 853 have died. The virus has killed 129 people in just the last 24 hours. Many have pointed to the fact that U.S sanctions on the country have compounded its current crisis, as they hurt Iran’s economy and its health care system. Last week, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) reiterated her call for the United States to suspend the sanctions. Omar retweeted a post by Iranian-American activist Hoda Katebi and wrote, “We need to suspend these sanctions before more lives are lost.”

The Katebi tweet referenced the plight of her family back in Iran. “I’m terrified,” it reads, “My aunt is a doctor in Iran. Bc of sanctions there is a MASSIVE shortage of medical supplies, including face masks. She keeps giving her face mask to other docs bc there aren’t enough for everyone. For the love of GOD we need to end sanctions on Iran NOW.”

Omar repeatedly condemned the sanctions on Iran, before the coronavirus ever hit the country. After the Trump administration announced new sanctions on the country in January, she tweeted, “This makes no sense. Sanctions are economic warfare. They have already caused medical shortages and countless deaths in Iran. You cannot claim to want deescalation and then announce new sanctions with no clear goal. This is not a measured response!”

Last month, the congresswoman introduced a package of 7 foreign policy bills that she calls “The Pathway to Peace.” “I want to make sure that here in the United States we understand that there are other countries who take in so many people of the world’s most pained people, and in the United States we could do better,” said Omar at the time.

One of those bills is the The Congressional Oversight of Sanctions Act, which would require congressional approval for any emergency sanctions introduced by an administration. The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said its  battle against the virus had been “severely hampered” by the sanctions and today China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang called on the United States to suspend them. “We urge the US to immediately lift unilateral sanction on Iran,” he tweeted, “Continued sanction is against humanitarianism and hampers Iran’s epidemic response & delivery of humanitarian aid by the UN and other organizations.”

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It is only humane to do so. These poor people are suffering badly through no fault of theirs, and we should not be punishing them, because we disagree with their leadership. There are women and children in dire straits over there, and they must be helped. Trump is a vindictive and vicious man, and besides he does not have any properties over there, so what does he care? He is the cause of their suffering,… Read more » “Sickening U.S. Sanctions on Iran,” by Finian Cunningham, Sputnik International, March 11, 2020 “At a time of global crisis as seen with the coronavirus epidemic, it is heartening to witness compassion and solidarity that unites all human beings. “Russia, which has so far been relatively unscathed from the disease, is reportedly sending 50,000 test kits to Iran for detecting the virus. The Islamic Republic has recorded over 300 deaths so far and there are… Read more »

These sanctions are war crimes. Crimes against humanity. And potentially qualifies as genocide. Sanctions frequently do not work. Sanctions do kill innocent civilians. We even know the number of excess deaths due to them. To wilfully take actions that will cause deaths in such mass numbers far exceeds any plausible use of the phrase collateral damage. Nor phrases like necessary price. These are war crimes of the highest degree and those behind them should be… Read more »

Nothing better reveals America’s worst character than its behavior towards Iran and Venezuela at a time of great hardship. It indeed does bring back thoughts of dear old Madeleine Albright, a genuinely hateful creature, speaking callously about the tens of thousands of dead children in Iraq. By the way, she received the Medal of Freedom just like Joe Biden, who perhaps got it for his advocacy of America’s industrial-scale extrajudicial killing operation or perhaps his… Read more »

Yes, suspend the sanctions on Iran.