Isn't safe traveling and surviving a trip a sure component of human rights? Are passenger planes which carry ordinary people counted among forbidden weapons which threaten international peace and security?
A total of 77 people, to whom Mr. Barak Hussein Obama's new Iranian year message was addressed, have lost their lives in an icy night because of a plane crash in northwest Iran.
This is not the first time that ordinary Iranian people have fallen victim to plane crashes. Being a victim of international sanctions, those planes have to fly for 37 and more years from one city to another, instead of being retired. Therefore, it is quite natural for them to cause catastrophes from time to time.
Due to political considerations, the Iranian officials are wary about ascribing plane crashes to impact of sanctions, but everybody knows that 30 years of international sanctions has left its most powerful negative impact on the Iranian airplane industry. Iran, which once boasted the most modern air fleet in the Middle East, is now plagued with a worn-out and outdated fleet.
Due to sanctions, they not only refrain from selling new planes to Iran, but also withhold much needed spare parts for the old planes. Therefore, chartered, second-hand airplanes make the backbone of the Iranian flights.
Although plane crashes can be also blamed on managerial and human factors, it goes without saying that a healthy standard fleet will be able to make up for most human errors.
Iran can be the world's biggest potential buyer of Boeing and Airbus planes and can spend billions of dollars on them, but the United States prevents such deals. At the same time, both American and European companies are engaged in intense competition over selling Boeings and Airbuses to claim a bigger share of the international market. They are even ready to give concessions to big customers.
A few years ago, when Bahrain was going to purchase new passenger planes, presidents of the United States and France announced that if Bahraini officials bought their planes they would attend the contract signing ceremony in person.
The American government has sanctioned Iran because it claims that the Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, violates human rights, and interferes in internal affairs of other regional states.
The American officials have frequently indicated that they love the Iranian people and value their ancient culture and civilization, but are at loggerheads with their government.
This strategy was first introduced under President George Bush Jr. when Condoleezza Rice was National Security Advisor to the President. Afterwards, it has become a standard in dealing with Iran: we oppose the Iranian government, but love its people!
However, the American friends, one of whose main concerns is the situation of human rights in Iran, have caused mortality of ordinary Iranian people by imposing sanctions against the Iranian air industry, even the passenger planes. Victims of the recent crash covered a wide range from small kids who pressed their dolls to their chests to senescent people who were going to meet with their children. None of them had anything to do with politics or proliferation of the nuclear weapons!
Continuation of sanctions against economic sectors which are directly related to people's everyday lives such as passenger planes and their parts, will be in stark contrast to US officials' allegations about being friends with the Iranian people.
What kind of friendship is that when their president sends felicitation message to Iranians, even congratulates the Iranian new year in Persian, expresses concern about the fate of a single prisoner, and deplores situation of human rights in the country, on the one hand, but when requested to lift sanctions on passenger airplanes because they will kill the Iranian people, he easily ignores those warnings?
Isn't safe traveling and surviving a trip, part and parcel of human rights? Are passenger planes, which carry ordinary people from one city to another, counted among forbidden weapons which threaten international peace and security?
Wouldn't it have reduced chances of a crash if, instead of the old plane which collapsed near Urmia that was 37 years old and operated on outdated equipment, a modern plane with modern facilities had carried those people?
Although dilapidated Iranian airplanes only crash from time to time, in the minds of the Iranian passengers, all planes and flights are doomed from the very beginning because they know that they are boarding worn-out aircraft. Therefore, instead of enjoying their flight, the nightmare of possible crash haunts them all through the way.
This permanent stress and concern and occasional mortalities are but a spinoff of international sanctions which have been imposed on the Iranian people by a country which is their friend and greatly loves them!
About Iran Review: Iran Review (www.iranreview.org) is the leading independent, non-governmental and non-partisan website - organization representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran's political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.
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