Sanctions and Human Rights

Iran still refuses to play ball with the international community.  In fact the only games they play are waiting games; dragging their heels with false promises of diplomacy.  And now the games are getting ridiculous as the Iranians threaten to throw their toys out of the pram, threatening to accelerate and increase their enrichment.  Ok, enough with the games analogy.

In the real world, diplomacy has failed over and over again.  In the eyes of the closed-minded, the military option is frowned upon as “unrealistic” or at least “not ripe”.  Yet despite ruling out these options to deter Iran from its belligerent course of enrichment; sanctions – the only remaining potential option for these commentators – have been at the brunt of much criticism in recent days.

This article, originally written for al-Jazeera sums up the general misplaced attitude towards the sanctions on Iran.

The Huffington Post, of course, also discusses sanctions through the tinted lens of collective punishment, while Thomas Erdbrink’s long article entitled ‘Iran Sanctions Take Unexpected Toll on Medical Imports’ is written in the same vain (what is it with Erdbrink these days?) .  His emotive – and at times genuinely heart wrenching – piece attributes some blame to the Iranians:

Industry insiders point to a more insidious problem: corruption. Seven years of mass imports have not only made Iran dependent on foreign suppliers, but have also bred a class of predatory officials who get kickbacks from import deals.

… But leaves the Iranian regime guilt free and blameless…

A quick glance at Ahmed Shaheed’s UN Human Rights report on Iran, however, sheds a shining light on who is really responsible for the human rights situations in Iran.

While he had already begun researching the effects of sanctions on human rights, he said that Iran must demonstrate transparency and support for further efforts.  For instance, examining the impact of sanctions on medical supplies required information on Government expenditures, he said.

First of all, it is important to highlight that:

“Under new EU sanctions released earlier this month, all exports of humanitarian goods over €100,000 must first be authorized by the member state from which the goods are being shipped.”

But any humanitarian goods under 100,000… do not need such authorization.


“The regulations now permit US companies to sell certain medicines and basic medical supplies to Iran without first seeking a license from OFAC.”

Let us not forget that it is the Iranian regime itself which decides what medical supplies it receives.

And if the Iranian regime genuinely cared more about its economy, and indeed well-being of its citizens, than its controversial nuclear program, then there simply would be no need for sanctions.  They’d play ball with the international community… and open up.

According to this Turkish publication, Khamenei actually instructed media outlets not to exaggerate the sanctions effect on Iran.  Clearly the sanctions and their perceived effects on his people are not bothering ‘The Supreme Leader’.

“Khamenei said the country of course had its ups and downs, yet nothing can stop Iran’s progress, and there are no problems that Iran cannot fix itself.”

Indeed, regarding the economy, the Wall Street Journal previously repeated, US exports to Iran have actually been increasing.

Perhaps most telling is this recent Reuters piece from yesterday on the affect of the sanctions:

Iran will manage to bring its high inflation lower and return to growth next year despite Western sanctions over its nuclear program, according to projections from the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF forecasts, which also include a small trade surplus this year and next, suggest that although the sanctions are damaging Iran by cutting its oil exports, they are not likely to cause a collapse of its economy.”

The author also points out that, “Much of the IMF analysis is based on statistics provided by the Iranian government”

All the while,

The U.N. nuclear chief said Monday that Iran is not cooperating with an investigation into suspected secret work on nuclear weapons.

Yukio Amano told the U.N. General Assembly that talks between the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have intensified this year after an IAEA report in November 2011 said it had “credible information that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” he said.”

Sanctions could be removed tomorrow.  But this will only happen when the Iranian leadership starts to care more about their citizens than their centrifuges.

Follow me on Twitter  @IranMediaFocus

Blogging & updating on #Iran related news- focusing on Politics, Human Rights & the Iranian nuclear Program. Followed by top Middle East Analysts, Reportes & think tanks.

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Posted in Huffington Post, Human Rights, Khamenei
2 comments on “Sanctions and Human Rights
  1. […] Later, the piece on the so-called shortage in medicines  that we discussed […]

  2. […] on this issue.  First of all, let us not forget that it is the Iranian regime itself that decides which medical supplies it needs and receives.  Likewise, a quick glance at the local headlines in Iran, provides a very different picture of […]

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