US Sanctions hurt ordinary Iranians: peace activist

IRNA – The Iranians believe that restored US Sanctions are counterproductive and that they hurt ordinary people, an American peace activist that recently visited Iran told IRNA.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK, who recently travelled to Iran to hold talks with Iranian academics, politicians, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as the country´s citizens, has told IRNA that she has heard a wide range of Iranian public opinion in support and against the US and President Donald Trump.

However, she stressed that ‘something that was common among the one who like Trump or not was that sanctions were hurting the ordinary Iranians and not the government’.

‘They are counterproductive for a variety of reasons, the Iranians told me,” she said in a phone interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency.

“In talking to people we found many examples of people saying that the currency has been devalued and that their ability to buy things has decreased in comparison to a year ago,” she added.

The Iranians also told her and her 28-group people that “there are many businesses closing and that younger people have a harder time to find jobs. Also cancer, diabetes and múltiple sclerosis medicines are not sufficient and that people don’t have much money to buy the drugs the price of which has risen so much’.

According to Benjamin, she also came to realize that due to the economic situation, it’s harder to save money to get married and that many young people are putting off marriage for longer times.

She noted that 2015 international nuclear agreement caused so much hope for “an easier future”. “Their hopes have been dashed that their resistance is going to be for a longer term and that this is not going to be resolved in a short time,” said the activist.

She reiterated that her group will take steps to bring in more Democrats and Republicans onboard in making the next US government to re-enter the nuclear agreement. ‘We want our Congress people on record saying that the US should reenter the nuclear pact,’ Benjamin stressed.