The Coronavirus Is Absolutely No Excuse To Lift Sanctions on Iran
Exploiting Iran’s coronavirus crisis to demand an end to sanctions is fundamentally dishonest—and panders to a brutal regime.
The following is an excerpt:
Iran’s clerical dictatorship cares more about its own survival than it cares about the welfare of the Iranian people. But you wouldn’t know it from the chorus of Americans and Europeans exploiting the coronavirus crisis in Iran to push the Trump administration to lift sanctions against Iran. This is fundamentally dishonest—the sanctions do not restrict medical supplies and other forms of humanitarian aid—and plays into the hands of a brutal regime.
Iran’s human rights record is one of the worst in the world. Last fall, the regime killed 1,500 people who peacefully protested the dictatorship’s mishandling of the economy. Soon after, it blew a passenger airliner out of the sky, killing everyone on board. A few weeks ago, Iranian-backed militias killed two U.S. and one British soldier in Iraq.
Last week, we learned that Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent held by Iran, died in captivity. His captors refused to provide information on his whereabouts to his long-suffering family for 13 years. More Americans and other foreigners, arbitrarily detained and falsely accused of being spies, remain hostage in Iranian jails today.
Are we to believe the same Iranian leaders committing these human rights crimes when they say they need wholesale relief from U.S. sanctions to combat the coronavirus? To an unwitting American audience, such Iranian propaganda can be quite persuasive, particularly when the request for sanctions relief is endorsed by the United Nations secretary general, the Chinese foreign minister, European politicians, and even former officials from Barack Obama’s administration.
Let’s separate fact from fiction.
Read Mark and Richard’s piece for Foreign Policy on the outlet’s website here.