U.S Sanctions on Iran at the Time of Corona | By Siddhanth Sharma

U.S Sanctions on Iran at the Time of Corona
By Siddhanth Sharma

The fallout of the Iran nuclear deal, marred the prospect of any signs of regional co-operation in the Middle East. The tensions reached an acme, in January 2020 this year, with the assassination of Iranian general, General Soleimani, ordered by the U.S President, Donald Trump. In the midst of these power dynamics between various actors, a new non-state actor, far more lethal than the existing actors,  has held the region hostage – Covid – 19. Iran has become the hotbed of the novel coronavirus, with 47,593 confirmed cases and 3,000+ deaths. While, the Iranian leadership claims to have successfully receded the proliferation of the virus, the fight against the pandemic, seems to be far from over. Iran, continues to grapple with the crises, with an added burden of the international sanctions arising out of the fallout of the nuclear deal, which the Trump administration has refused to lift, even at the time of such dire straits.

The nature and repurcersions of a pandemic
A pandemic influenza outbreak is where a new influenza virus emerges and spreads easily, like a regular flu. However, due to the novelty of the virus, neither a person’s immunity nor the medical community’s preparedness can counter the spread of the virus instantly. Studies claim that a pandemic might last 12 to 36 months, coming in waves of 6 to 8 weeks, adapting to it’s targets (human beings).[1] 
Humanity has not been a stranger to pandemics. There have been 3 pandemics[2] in the last century. For instance, the Spanish Flu in 1918, which broke out at the height of the First World War, halted the advance of the belligerent states in the theatre of war, and is estimated to have claimed the lives of 20-50 million worldwide. Outbreaks of pandemics are not routine, however, when they occur, they launch human life into an abyss of jeopardy. At the time of a pandemic, governments, not only have an obligation to ensure the safety and health of it’s populations but also towards other states, based on the tenets of mutual vulnerability and reciprocal obligations. This makes us reassess, the ethical connotations of the the Trump administration’s reluctance to relax the sanctions on Iran.

Azadi Tower, Tehran, Iran

U.S. sanctions on Iran
The Trump administration has antagonised the Iranian regime, to the point of unreasonability and incoherence, while employing browbeating techniques on countries, which choose to support Iran. Hence, many countries with no connection whatsoever to the strained relations b/w Iran-US have gotten dragged into the mess and have hence been reluctant to offer their help to the Iranian regime, leaving the country more isolated than ever from the international community. At a time of a pandemic, preserving human life, should be of paramount  interest and the United States ought to distinguish b/w it’s grudges with the regime and the bona fide needs of the citizens. In the near future, when a vaccine is discovered, by a pharmaceutical company, continuation of the sanctions, will preclude the export of such vaccines into Iran and will affect inter alia, availability of vaccines, leading to an alarming shortage of the same. This leads to the perpetuation of black market sales of vaccines, where, the same is sold for three times the price, making human life unaffordable.[3] While, the United States reiterates that the sanctions exempt the sale of medicine and medical devices, the reality is far from this. Secondary sanctions imposed by the Americans on financial institutions and companies engaging in business with the regime have made it extremely difficult for Iran to purchase medical devices, as fundamental as ventilators, to treat coronavirus patients.[4] violating the right to health of the Iranians. Even the European Union for instance, which has been rallying for the lifting of sanctions, has been arm twisted into abstaining from providing financial aid to the regime, for European banks always fear the re-imposition of sanctions by the Trump administration, if they allow processing of transactions.
Iran is also a host to 951,142 Afghan refugees and 28,268 Iraqi refugees.[5], making to the hotspot of the most protracted urban refugee situations in the world. Continuation of the sanctions, violates Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees to everyone the right to a standard of living adequate for his health and well-being of his family, including, medical care and necessary social services.  In a bid to punish the regime for it’s dismal human rights record, the International community and advocates of the sanctions are stepping into the shoes of hypocrisy and in fact perpetuating a human rights abrogation in their own capacity.

The outbreak of Covid – 19 has made us reflect on the humanity of human beings. The unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States, reek of nonchalance and diplomatic conceit. Previous attempts made by countries to countervail the unilateral imposition of the sanctions, by forming a non aligned movement,[6] should hopefully receive more support from the international community. For, the measures adopted by the United States are not representative of collective consciousness, are definitely not made in furtherance of resolving international disputes by peaceful means, which are two essential prerogatives on States, laid down in the U.N. Charter and ought to be followed in letter and spirit.


This article has been written by Siddhanth Sharma. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Siddhanth is learning Law at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. He has been inclined towards learning about World and Indian History, International Politics, Constitutional Law, and Human Rights. Apart from academic interests, Siddhanth also enjoys listening to soft rock, jazz, Indian and Western Classical music, reading fiction, and watching ‘The Office’. He believes that one’s journey is a continuous process of seeking and learning, the day we stop learning, is the day we stop evolving.

All views presented in the article belong solely to the writer. The Editor does not support or condemn the views, and neither does The Global Telescope. The Global Telescope remains impartial and promotes every individual's right to freedom of speech and expression while not holding any responsibility for the views presented whatsoever.


Popular posts from this blog

Naomi O'Leary on Her Journey as a Journalist and The Irish Passport Podcast | Vantage By TGT, Season 1 Episode 4 Part 1

Jack Parrock on His Life in Journalism, Living in Brussels, and the United States of America! | Vantage By TGT, Season 1 Episode 1 Part 1

International Arms-Oil Relationship in the World | By Sampurna Mukherjee