Thursday (April 2nd): Iran & others plea with the U.S.

Javad Zarif

Name? Javad Zarif

Westphalian identity? Iranian

Age? 60

Why is he in the news? As the foreign minister of Iran, Zarif has been forced to plea with the United States to lift sanctions as they are now a form of “economic terrorism.”

Why do we care? “We had always said the sanctions are unjust but coronavirus revealed this injustice to the world.” While we don’t necessarily agree or disagree with Zarif’s statement, we have also found that this virus has revealed far too many injustices in the world. Injustices that once revealed, must be dealt with, not pushed back under the rug by leaders who find them ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

Why should you care? Iran has become an epicentre of the virus; confirming more than 47,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths. The sanctions placed on Iran by the U.S. have largely deterred international banks and firms from doing business with Iran. While this is an issue in normal times, it is especially an obstacle now as Iran is unable to get the medical equipment needed to treat their growing caseload.

Who else cares? Russia, China, the EU, the United Nations security general, rights groups and nearly three dozen members of US Congress. These other international actors have also appealed to the Trump administration to suspend the sanctions.

Any further comments? The United States has responded rather disappointingly (but rather expectedly) by blaming the Iranian regime for the inability to effectively fight the pandemic. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went so far as to accuse Iran’s leaders of “trying to avoid responsibility for their grossly incompetent and deadly governance.” Ouch. Hey Iran, do you need some ice for that burn? Too bad, the U.S. just added sanctions on ice! (seriously, this is diplomacy nowadays…even in the midst of a crisis…?)

Sarah McFadden

General Coordinator