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Guest Opinion: To sanction or not to sanction, this is the problem

The Islamic Republic of Iran has faced sanctions since the beginning of the Islamic revolution. At first, the reason for sanctions was to stop Iran’s nuclear program. today, sanctions include Central Bank of Iran, military weapons and medicine. Sanctions on medicine endanger many innocent lives in Iran.

To look closely this issue and understand the situation we need a flashback to see what happened three or four decades ago between Iran and the U.S. and who helped Iran to start making a nuclear installation.

According to Sam Roe of The Chicago Tribune, Iran received reactors in the 1950s from the U.S. as part of the Atoms for Peace program. Iran was not the only country that received reactors from The U.S. “U.S. reactors, for instance, went to Iran, Pakistan and Colombia; Soviet reactors to Libya, Bulgaria and North Korea,” Roe said. It seems that US was satisfied with Iran’s nuclear program at first, but it has changed its politics and now The U.S. and European Union are unhappy with Iran’s current nuclear program and they are using sanctions to stop Iran.

About three months ago Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of The Islamic Republic of Iran, gave a speech in the City of Bojnurd in North Khorasan province of Iran. He talked about the sanctions and mentioned United States as the enemy of the country and said “we faced sanction from the beginning of the Islamic revolution but these days they linked sanction with nuclear program, they say lie. At the time that they assigned the sanctions there is no nuclear plan in the country.”

Do sanctions stop Iran from continuing its nuclear program? Or just force Iran’s government to grudge and continue their program? Ali Abdi, Iranian activist studying in Yale University says “I am not an expert on international relations, but what I have seen in the doctrine of Islamic Republic’s foreign policy throughout the last few decades is that unilateral pressure would not make Iranian authorities change their policies. With the current unprecedented US-led sanctions and Israeli military threats, Iranian authorities are not less but more motivated to seek a potential nuclear plan in order to safeguard their position in power.”

Furthermore Abdi believes the primary application of sanction was to affect The Islamic regime but now, the people of Iran are affected more than even western countries expected. He mentioned the massively dropped value of Rials, Iran’s currency. And the problems faced by Iranian medical patients. “A large number of people’s health condition is also at risk due to shortages of medicine. Iranian importers have difficult time in paying the pharmaceutical companies in the West because most Iranian banks are under sanction,” Abdi says.

Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam, professor and faculty member of Tehran’s University accepted the effects of sanctions and said “at least half of the current inflation in the Iran’s economy is because of the sanctions and if in the future the embargo goes deeper and they completely prevent our oil exports, our conditions will become more critical.”

According to “patients with chronic diseases like hemophilia or diabetes are at particular risk, as even a temporary lack of drugs could mean a death sentence. With the sanctions expected to force the closure of a number of domestic drug factories in the next few months, the problem could get a lot bigger soon.”

The bitter question is do The U.S. or EU nations wants to kill the people of Iran or do they want to stop its nuclear program? With these sanctions, ordinary people will die, likewise, we have to consider that not all the Iranian people are nuclear scientists.

According to the The New York Times “every day patients and their relatives line up at special pharmacies in Tehran, where those suffering from cancer, hemophilia, thalassemia, kidney problems and other diseases are increasingly told the foreign-made medicines they need are no longer available.”

However Iranian authorities believe sanctions were ineffective. According to Press “Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini says the illegal US-engineered sanctions imposed on Iran have proven ineffective.” He continued “Imposing sanctions on Iran will harm the strategic interests of the US in the long run.”

Although not all Iranians disagree with sanctions, some of them are agree with sanctions. Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iranian political activist believes that “sanctions are an alternative to war, the other alternative is to accept a nuclear Iran, I do believe a nuclear Iran won’t be accepted by the world. Those who oppose sanctions either believe Islamic republic should have a nuclear bomb or believe the world can live with a nuclear Islamic republic.”

Ghasseminejad believes United States and European countries didn’t reach their goals by imposing sanctions on Iran but he hopes the sanctions work and stops Iran’s military nuclear program. Unlike Abdi, Ghasseminejad doesn’t believe that sanctions are the reason for medicine shortage in Iran. “There is no sanction on medicine. According to the former health minister of Iran the medicine shortage has other reasons.” Ghasseminejad says.

One of the hardest to obtain medicines in Iran is Herceptin. According to The New York Times, “Herceptin, an American-made cancer medicine… Herceptin, like many other Western-made medicines, has become increasingly hard to obtain in Iran as a result of the American-led sanctions meant to force Iran to stop enriching Uranium, a critical element in what the United States says is a nuclear weapons program.”

Although in November 02, 2012 The Los Angeles Times said “the Obama administration has quietly eased restrictions on the sale of medicine to Iran amid signs that concern over the suffering of ordinary citizens could complicate an international campaign to punish Iran for its disputed nuclear program.” It was good news for Iranian patients and it was a wise answer to the Iranian “campaign to blame the West for privations and especially for harming ailing Iranians.” The Los Angeles Times continued.

But a few days after eased restrictions on the sale of medicine to Iran Huffington Post said “the Senate endorsed stringent new sanctions on Iran’s energy and shipping sectors in a fresh attempt to hobble the Islamic Republic’s economy and hamper its nuclear ambitions.”
Because of the sanctions, Iran’s Rial faced plummeting value. According to The Guardian, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says “Iran’s currency crisis due to psychological war” he continued “plummeting value of Rial is fault of enemies abroad and at home, not his government’s economic policies.” plummeting value of Rial even easing sale of medicine to Iran is not helpful. On the other hand, The U.S. eases sales of medicine to Iran but tighten the sanctions to affect the Iran’s economy and as Menendez said “The most recent sanctions are working toward crippling Iran’s economy…” So, with the crippling economy is there any hope for Iranian patients?

All in all, the effects of sanctions on Iranian people are not extravagant. It’s real and many people are suffering from the sanctions either directly or indirectly. Sanctions can weaken the Iranian people and more than likely can ruin America’s reputation. Iran’s situation is very specific and because of economic problems the peoples are very vulnerable, so essentially they don’t need and they don’t like someone to make the situation worst. We know that with this radical regime, having nukes can lead the world to the real disaster, but is it fair to put the pressure on citizens to force government to do something?


About Farzan Faramarzi (0 Articles)
Farzan is Video News Director with The Arbiter. He is senior, and he likes shooting video and taking pictures.