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article imageOp-Ed: US refuses Iran's request to reduce sanctions due to corona virus

By Ken Hanly     Mar 22, 2020 in Politics
US hostility toward Iran is so deeply ingrained in US policy, that the US refuses to even consider reducing sanctions on the country to help alleviate effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
US rejects any easing of sanctions on Iran
In themselves the US sanctions help create misery for many Iranians by making a poor economic situation even worse. During the coronavirus the sanctions cause an even worse humanitarian system as it hinders Iranian efforts to fight the pandemic. Even with Iranians dying and being infected at a high rate the US has said it absolutely would not consider any relief. The US warned Iran that the coronavirus would not save it from sanctions.
US Special Envoy Brian Hook added that if Iran was having troubles they should have spent more on health care instead of billions of dollars on war. Iran's expenditures on the military are a pittance compared to what the US spends. Many in the US may be wishing that their government spent more on health and less on wars.
Pompeo claims that US sanctions do not impact Iranian humanitarian aid
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists that the sanctions have no impact on humanitarian aid. Pompeio said at a White House briefing on Friday: “The whole world should know that humanitarian assistance to Iran is wide open, it’s not sanctioned."
Pompeo pointed out that there are no sanctions on medicines going into Iran or humanitarian assistance. However, the sanctions mean that resources that could be used to help fight the virus are used for other purposes. So the sanctions in that way make a dire situation even worse.
Banking sanctions in practice make even humanitarian trade more difficult, including aid shipments. Added to this, items such as medical equipment are not considered humanitarian aid and are sanctioned but such equipment could be of great help in fighting the pandemic.
Ironically Iran has offered to help the US in its efforts to control the virus. The US has just recently added new sanctions on Iran.
Iran badly hit by the virus
Iran is the worst hit of all Middle East countries. Its recent death toll from the virus is 1,284. It is estimated by the Iranian Health Ministry that one person dies from the virus every 10 minutes and about 50 become infected every hour. While the situation may to some extent be caused by inadequate government action, the situation is made much worse by the negative effects of US sanctions. The US could help but it would seem it desires to make things worse for the government no doubt in the hope that the people will demand regime change. However, it is more likely to cause increased anti-American sentiment.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about US Iran relations, Coronavirus in Iran, us sanctions on Iran
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