Tehran Times – Renowned American scholar Noam Chomsky has said it is “sheer sadism” that that the United States maintains sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The sanctions are illegitimate in the first place, and maintaining them during the pandemic is sheer sadism,” Chomsky told IRNA in an interview published on Saturday.
Speaking from his office in self-isolation to Croatian philosopher and author Srecko Horvat in April, Chomsky blasted U.S. President Donald Trump for continuing sanctions on Iran.
“When the U.S. imposes devastating sanctions – it’s the only country that can do that, everyone has to follow … the master. Or else they are kicked out the financial system,” said Chomsky, according to Aljazeera.
Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden said on April 2 that Trump’s administration must ease economic sanctions on Iran as a humanitarian gesture during the global coronavirus pandemic.
The former vice president said the U.S. has a moral obligation to be among the first to offer aid to people in need regardless of where they live when confronting a virus that knows no borders or political affiliations, according to Aljazeera.
The U.S. is even impeding Iran to get loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to contain the virus.
On March 31, a UN human rights expert called for lifting international sanctions against countries ranging from Iran to North Korea and Venezuela in coronavirus crisis, according to Reuters.
“The continued imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and, to a lesser degree, Zimbabwe, to name the most prominent instances, severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food,” Hilal Elver, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement.
Elver, an independent expert, said that it was a matter of “humanitarian and practical urgency to lift unilateral economic sanctions immediately”.
In a letter to the G-20 economic powers on March 24, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for rolling back international sanctions regimes around the world.
Guterres said sanctions are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Foreign Policy reported.
“I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and COVID-19 medical support. This is the time for solidarity, not exclusion,” he said.
“Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world,” the UN chief said.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, also said on March 24 that “in a context of a global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.”
“At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended,” she said in a statement.
Trump’s administration is not only refusing to remove its illegal sanctions on Iran, it is also blocking Tehran’s efforts to get an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund to cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, has criticized the U.S. for blocking an Iranian request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, Politico reported on April 22.