Intl. community should act responsibly regarding Iran amid outbreak: US academic

TEHRAN, Mar. 17 (MNA) – A US academic censured illegal sanctions imposed by the United States against Iran, urging the world to act more responsibly towards Iran which is fighting with the coronavirus outbreak as sanctions are hampering efforts to contain the disease.

Iran is one of the hard-hit countries by the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 14,900 infections and 850 deaths so far. While the Iranian government has established a special task force to combat the outbreak from the moment early cases were reported, but unilateral sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after walking out of JCPOA some two years ago are hampering Tehran's efforts to fight back the disease. For instance, US claims food and medicine are not sanctioned but pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to sell products to Iran because they fear US sanctions and also the bans on banking relations have greatly impeded the country's efforts to buy the required materials and medical equipment.

"US unilateralism and ever-increasing scofflaw behavior in the service of its global empire present the greatest challenge to the continuation of a multilateral, rules-based global order governed by international law, trade agreements, regional security agreements, and immigration protocols. The international community should be responsible to Iran, and to itself by manifesting the recognition that these principles, institutions, and agreements must be maintained through collective adherence to international law, especially in the face of bullying by a rogue empire," David Yaghoubian, professor of history at California State University San Bernardino, told Mehr News Agency on Monday. 

An undated photo of David Yaghoubian

Here is the full text of the interview:

Now it’s more than one year that the Trump administration has started the so-called ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran which has influenced the Iranian economy. Its effects can now be seen as the country is facing problems to acquire its needed funds to battle the coronavirus outbreak. Are these sanctions legal in the first place?

The blizzard of primary and secondary sanctions which constitute the core of the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure” policy of economic terrorism against the Islamic Republic of Iran grossly violate the unanimously-passed UN security council resolution 2231 in both letter and spirit, as well as international humanitarian law, such as the 2018 International Court of Justice ruling requiring the United States to lift sanctions linked to humanitarian goods and civil aviation imposed on Iran. Moreover, it is an absurdity and an unprecedented slap to the rules-based international order that a UN security council member and signatory to a unanimous resolution threatens other security council members and United Nations member states with punitive secondary sanctions should they continue to meet their obligations under UNSCR 2231 and/or international humanitarian law.

Now the international community has started to feel the sanction’s real effects on Iranian people as they are endangering the public health. What is the responsibility of the world towards Iran and also towards US unilateralism?

US unilateralism and ever-increasing scofflaw behavior in the service of its global empire present the greatest challenge to the continuation of a multilateral, rules-based global order governed by international law, trade agreements, regional security agreements, and immigration protocols. The international community should be responsible to Iran, and to itself by manifesting the recognition that these principles, institutions, and agreements must be maintained through collective adherence to international law, especially in the face of bullying by a rogue empire, which should make the point self-evident. Alas, verbal international recognition of these critical principals and the dark specter of “law of the jungle” that the United States extends is not lacking, while courage and action based on this verbal recognition has been essentially absent.

Both President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif have recently penned letters to their counterparts and international bodies, urging them to disregard US sanctions at this time of crisis. What do you think the response of the world leaders would be to these requests?

Unfortunately, and as per the above, it can be expected that world leaders will provide verbal support to the idea of assisting Iran during this time of crisis, but I believe the expectation that they will stand up to the American imperial bully and come to Iran’s aid at this juncture has no basis. In imposing the so-called "maximum pressure" policy of economic terrorism against Iran, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo stated explicitly that Iran would accept his 12-point maximalist plan for the relinquishment of national sovereignty and rights, “if they want their people to eat.” The international cavalry of the rules-based order did not come to the Islamic Republic’s rescue after this explicit terrorist threat of collective punishment and mass starvation, and subsequent sanctions to achieve this political goal, nor in the wake of subsequent provocations, assassinations, and deprivation of humanitarian and medical supplies. While it is possible that the more responsible and militarily capable JCPOA signatories and members of the UNSC, such as China and Russia, might be in a position to demonstrate their adherence to law and multilateralism through action that breaks these illegal sanctions, they too fear the economic bat wielded by the Trump regime, and thus cannot be relied on to provide relief in this time of even greater crisis.

Interview by Mohammad Ali Haqshenas

News Code 156770

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