11 October, 2013
Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII),
Organization for Defending Victims of Violence,
Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support,
Tehran Peace Museum
designed by Asal Farshchi
The comprehensive US/EU sanctions attacking the lifeline of Iranian economy is a criminal war of choice against the Iranian population. Far from the claims of sanctions as diplomacy aimed at the resolution of the conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme, sanctions are inflicting, both by design and default, unendurable pain and destruction on Iranian people, Iran’s infrastructure and civil society institutions.
The sanctions on Iran, if they continue as before, would be moving on the same deadly trajectory as in Iraq, both in the accumulative rate of death and destruction and as a prelude to military attack. With the acute shortage of food and pharmaceutical drugs and the official inflation rate at 37.5%, the President of Iran’s Academy of Medical Sciences writes in his letter of 21/08/2013 to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, that food and essential medicine “have become inaccessible to the most vulnerable of society including children, mothers, and the elderly, as well as disease-specific and cancer patients”. “We are, therefore, witnessing more and more cases of the gradual malnutrition and death of children and of patients with specific diseases”. In a recent UN meeting in Tehran, Gary Lewis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran has emphasised "the distress which sick people in Iran are suffering as a result of their inability to access life-saving medicines, as a result of the consequences of sanctions...”
The revelation in April 2013 that both the US and the UK governments refused to allow Shell to repay its debt of $2.3 billion to Iran in the form of pharmaceuticals and grain, leaves no doubt that despite the international humanitarian laws forbidding boycotting of food and medication and the US and EU’s own sanctions regulations exempting humanitarian items, these laws and regulations are flouted with impunity and it is indeed the Iranian population which is the intended target of the strangulating sanctions. The aim is to use the suffering and discontent in the population as a lever to coerce Iran into submitting its nuclear rights and to manufacture a scenario for forced regime change.
The high turnout for the presidential elections in June testifies to the Iranian people’s determination to effect change in domestic and foreign policy, and reiterates their rejection of foreign interference and intervention.
Iranian people are actively calling for the removal of the western imposed sanctions. In recent weeks, Iranian civil society members, NGOs, professional associations, workers’ unions, political activists, including political prisoners have issued statements and are mobilizing into a mass movement against sanctions.
Characteristically, having lost the manufactured pretext for scaremongering about Iran as a threat, Israel and the pro-war lobby in the US Congress are hard at work to pre-empt a successful resolution to the crisis and easing of sanctions. In fact, the inauguration of President Rouhani on 3 August was greeted by the concurrent passage (400-20) of yet another sanctions bill in the US House of Representatives on 2 August.
International NGO’s, humanitarian organisations, peace and anti-war movements around the world, in contrast, are strongly opposed to the current western policies towards Iran that can only repeat the Iraq catastrophe on a much larger scale, if not stopped. They are united in their solidarity with the Iranian people and their universal demand that the US and the EU :
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