Iranian artists ask colleagues across globe to stand up to US sanctions

Press TV – A group of Iranian artists active in various fields of arts, including filmmaking and music, have penned a letter to their colleagues in other countries, asking them to raise awareness about the urgent need for taking collective global action to lift brutal sanctions that the Western countries, especially the US, have imposed on Iran as the country is fighting a deadly outbreak of new coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

In this letter, which has been signed by 253 Iranian artists and is expected to be signed by many more in other countries, the writers have slammed brutal sanctions imposed by the West, topped by the US, against the Iranian people at a time that the country is in urgent need of medical and other humanitarian supplies to ward off the deadly virus outbreak.

The Iranian artists’ letter echoes an outcry on national and international levels against the brutal US sanctions, with various officials from Iran, Russia, and China, as well as medical organizations, doctors and different rights groups urging the administration of US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions, which have made it actually impossible for Iran to even buy and import medicine.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said on Monday that the number of coronavirus deaths in the country has increased to 1,812 and the total cases to 23,049 during the past 24 hours.

“There have been 127 new deaths and 1,411 new infections since Sunday,” he said.

Here’s the full text of the Iranian artists’ letter to their foreign counterparts:

All of us, citizens of any country and of any nationality, are also citizens of a territory without borders and flags called “art,” in a world called “culture;” and no power can ever deprive us of this citizenship.

In this common land of dreams, Asian or European, American or African, we all possess the gift of cultural understanding and communication, the talent to influence public opinion, the ability to analyze and the opportunity to change the conditions of human society.

All of us, with our works, with our artistic tastes, with the particularities and uniqueness of our cultures, have narrated and embodied faith and disbelief, love and hate, peace and war, knowledge and ignorance, good and evil, as well as salvation and redemption, and through these works we have learned to know and make known a shared world much larger than the countries in which we live.

The more the powers and their policies, driven by hatred and intolerance, have tried to divide and oppress us, the more we have become united and strong and courageous, and more determined and decisive in transmitting our common humanitarian messages.

At this moment, all of us, regardless of the geographic and political positions, are facing a common mortal enemy that does not matter where it comes from, but what matters is that it is traveling everywhere in freedom and in a hurry. In the face of this minuscule enemy, we are fragile and vulnerable to the same extent, and we cannot save ourselves without saving the other.

Coronavirus is not just a virus, but a historical, yet simple, question that is receiving complicated answers from the nations and governments around the world.

We ask you, “Can the response of the Iranian nation, suffocated by sanctions, be on a par with the responses of all other nations to this historic question?”

Is it not logical to expect that the response of free and independent artists from around the world to the question of “coronavirus” – under conditions that this peril is knocking at their doors – should be different and more effective than the answers of their politicians and the powerful figures?

This crisis will sooner or later pass, with more or less victims, but its stories, common and different, will remain. The story will remain about the exhausted nurses who danced in the infected corridors of hospitals to raise the morale of patients and colleagues and hide their despair behind this fake cheerfulness, because of the lack of means and medicines. The story of the doctors who stayed away from home for weeks, without masks and gloves and gowns, among the patients some of whom were even treated on the ground in the hospital corridors, will also remain.

These and other stories will remain indelible in the historical memory of the world, and sooner or later, by you or us, they will be told.

Let’s hope that when committed artists, who impress the public opinion of the world and its powerful figures, start to tell the story of this brutality against the Iranian people to the powerful and politicians, it would not be already so late that their own breaths are numbered as a result of this scourge.

Today, the Iranian people face two crises: a common crisis that you know, which is called “coronavirus,” and the crisis of “sanctions,” which we wish you would never come to know.

It is of vital importance to us, Iranian artists, to know what you, global artists, think, what you say and what you do about the conditions of Iranian coronavirus patients as well as children and the elderly, at a time that Iran’s medical community is faced with disastrous shortages and crisis