ICC Signs Open Letter Calling for an End to US Sanctions on Iran During the Coronavirus Epidemic

The Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) is proud to join hundreds of academics, experts, and civil society activists who signed this open letter that calls for an end to US sanctions on Iran during this global pandemic. Find below the letter. You may also find it at this link.

This week, confirmed infections of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 surpassed 586,000 worldwide and global deaths rose past 26,800 as the outbreak continues to spread across the Middle East, Europe, and North America. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide deaths have tripled while global cases have more than doubled in the past week.

Iran is among the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, with over 2,300 deaths and 32,000 cases of infections from the COVID-19. It is also the only country that is dealing with this level of cases while living under severe economic sanctions.

In 2018, the Trump administration imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran and implemented a policy of maximum pressure after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

While on paper the US administration has provided humanitarian exemptions in its sanctions regime, reports from Iranian civil society, international aid organizations, and human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, show a different reality on the ground as US sanctions, including banking restrictions, have severely impacted Iranians’ access to medical equipment and essential medicine.

In recent weeks, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Pakistan have asked the U.S to ease sanctions on Iran during this unprecedented global pandemic. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has ignored these requests and instead have imposed even more sanctions on the country.

We believe that it is not only unjust to leave Iranian people alone in this global crisis, but is indeed a violation of Iranians’ inalienable rights to health and access to medical care. Furthermore, we believe that this pandemic is a shared global threat and it could only be defeated when all countries and people come together and support one another.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on all members of the United Nations Security Council to act in compliance with international law and UNSC resolution 2231 and to support Iranian people in their fight against this global pandemic.

We also urge the US lawmakers to pressure the Trump administration to immediately lift all sanctions that are impeding Iran’s response to the outbreak, including financial sanctions.

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  • Hooman Razavi
    commented 2020-04-02 12:18:06 -0400
    As much as individual board members of ICC may support the sanction relief initiative reasoned and penned in the letter, in my opinion and as a renewed member, this endorsement is in violation of ICC by-laws and purview of this institution, and published without consultation with members as myself. Issues related to Iranian domestic politics should not be politicized, by current ICC board, and be used as slogans to promote individual and ideological interests and inclinations. I hope ICC refrains from such actions in the remaining period until the upcoming AGM, and the monitor (Mr. Huberman) responds to my request to seek explanation of why the current board can sign letters of this nature and continue to represent the interests of its members in the eyes of the community and the Canadian public. Regards, Hooman Razavi, Toronto Member.

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