Monday, September 17, 2012

Violation of Human Rights: Devastating Impacts of Iran Sanctions Regime

Ban on Medicine and Basic Food Staples

Global Research
Kourosh Ziabari

The fact that the inhumane sanctions of the United States and its European allies against Iran are taking a heavy toll on the ordinary Iranians is still hard to believe for many Western citizens who suppose that their governments are sincere in their claims of being concerned for human rights and freedom.

In different articles, I’ve pointed out this fact that the economic sanctions against Iran have become so intensive and rigorous that they have nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program anymore; rather, they are aimed at paralyzing the daily life of the innocent civilians in the country with the ultimate goal of persuading them to revolt against the government to protest the deteriorating living conditions, hence creating an all-out chaos and unrest in the society.

Since 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed 7 resolutions on Iran’s nuclear program, demanding the country to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. In four of these resolutions, the UNSC has imposed sanctions on Iran, including a ban on the supply of nuclear-related materials and technology, an arm embargo, travel bans on individuals connected to Iran’s nuclear program, a freezing of the assets of Iranian banks in the United States and EU countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines along with various embargoes on the assets and activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

However, the thirst of the United States and its allies in crippling Iran’s nuclear program and harming its economy has not been quenched with the UNSC resolutions. The United States and its allies have sought to put a huge amount of economic and political pressure on Iran outside the framework of the Security Council, and through imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran’s banking, insurance, oil, industry, aviation, shipping and medical sectors, they have taken up an unjustifiably aggressive stance in regards to Iran which has caused a dramatic surge of the anti-American, anti-Western sentiments among the Iranian people, instead of turning them against the government.

I’m not here to argue that these sanctions are unlawful and legally unwarrantable as some senior academicians like Francis A. Boyle have reasoned that Iran is entitled to sue the United States and other countries imposing sanctions for violating the international trade laws. However, what matters is that the anti-Iranian sanctions have become so cruel and vindictive that even the Western mainstream media, tacitly run and funded by the Western governments, have confessed that these bans and restrictions are contrary to the principles of human rights.

In an article titled “Sanctions on Iran: ordinary people are the target” published on August 10, the Guardian correspondent writes, “Iranian civilians bear the brunt of western-imposed sanctions in terms of medicine and food shortages, and money problems.”

“For Fatemeh, the pill she takes twice a day in her home in Iran means the difference between life and death. Earlier this summer when she contacted her friend Mohammad in the U.S. to say she was running out of the medicine due to a shortage, the obvious thing for her fellow Iranian to do was to order it from the chemist next door and have it shipped directly to Iran. To the dismay of Fatemeh and Mohammad, the order was rejected because of US sanctions on trade with Iran,” the article wrote.

“As sanctions have started to take their toll, prices of fruit and sugar, among other staples, have soared – in some cases showing three- and four-fold increases. The latest controversy surrounds long queues for discounted poultry, an essential ingredient of Persian food, which has seen its price double since last year, causing what has been dubbed a “chicken crisis” and prompting demonstrations,” Guardian wrote.

So, even the Western media whose hostility to Iran needs no evidence have realized the depth of the catastrophe unfolding in the country.

As a result of the economic sanctions, many foreign companies are unable to deliver consignments of medicine and foodstuff to Iran, and thousands of patients suffering from haemophilia, thalassemia, cancer, multiple sclerosis and psychiatric disorders are denied access to the medicine vital for the continuation of their lives.

According to Washington Post, the sanctions are “increasingly hitting vulnerable medical patients as deliveries of medicine and raw materials for Iranian pharmaceutical companies are either stopped or delayed.”

“The effect is being felt by cancer patients and those being treated for complex disorders such as hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and thalassemia, as well as transplant and kidney dialysis patients, none of whom can afford interruptions or delays in medical supplies,” reports Washington Post on September 4.

The Iranian Hemophilia Society (HIS) announced in August that “the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs caused by international economic sanctions.”

“This is a blatant hostage-taking of the most vulnerable people by countries which claim they care about human rights,” Ahmad Ghavidel, head of IHS, told the Washginton Post. “Even a few days of delay can have serious consequences like hemorrhage and disability.”

A neo-conservative member of the United States House of Representatives, Bradley James Sherman, who is known in the States as one of the strongest advocates of U.S.-Israeli relations has flagrantly admitted that the sanctions are affecting the lives of innocent people: “Critics [of the sanctions] argued that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.”

Reuters have also confirmed the conjectures that the inhumane sanctions have made Iran unable to import basic commodities, including foodstuff.

“Iran is turning to barter – offering gold bullion in overseas vaults or tankerloads of oil – in return for food as new financial sanctions have hurt its ability to import basic staples for its 74 million people,” it reported on February 9, 2012.

“Reuters surveys of commodities traders around the globe show that since the start of the year, Iran has had trouble securing imports of basic staples like rice, cooking oil, animal feed and tea. Grain ships have been held at its ports, refusing to unload until payment can be received for cargo,” the report added.

The news website Al-Monitor has also published a report, attesting that more foreign companies are refraining from doing business with Iran for fear of the punitive measures adopted by the United States to penalize the firms and companies that do business with Iran. These companies are even refusing to export foodstuff to Iran, creating enormous problems for the Iranian people to have easy, inexpensive access to the rudimentary necessities of their daily life: “The food suppliers to Tehran, where the government supervise the distribution of agricultural products to Iranian markets, have stepped back one by one. They fear the impact that the Western sanctions may have on their international business.”

“The Iranian people, which total 74 million, might find themselves facing disturbing shortages. Swiss experts have noted that Malaysia’s exports of palm oil have declined since the beginning of the year. Malaysia is the number-one provider of this raw material, which is used in abundance to prepare food and manufacture cosmetic and cleaning products. It is noteworthy that middlemen in the UAE have stopped bank payments for Malaysian traders,” wrote Talal Salameh in a report published by Al-Monitor on March 29.

“It is true that Iran is able to circumvent the ban on oil exports. However, the food-products dilemma will persist, as Iran is unable to purchase these goods due to its inability to pay,” the report added.

So, there’s ample evidence verifying the notion that the so-called pioneers of human rights have practically taken up arms against the Iranian nation by banning the humanitarian goods such as foodstuff and medicine from being imported to the country.

Although it might be unbelievable for the Western citizens who have only heard that “Iran is developing nuclear weapons” that this peaceful nation is subject to the most atrocious and appalling economic war of the United States and its allies, the reality on the ground is that Iran, which through the course of past 300 years have neither attacked nor invaded any country, is now being dragged into a war which has no winners and is simply waged to take revenge on Iran for its independence and disobedience to the imperial powers.

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