ACTION ALERT: Iran and the Coronavirus
(March 10, 2020) — This is bad. Since February 19, when the first coronavirus cases were identified in Iran, at least 6,566 people — about one in every 12,000 Iranians—have been infected. At least 237 people have died. Iran is third, behind China and South Korea, in cases of coronavirus per population. Due to US sanctions, Iran is suffering from a shortage of the medical supplies, products, and equipment required for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the coronavirus.
The US Treasury Department must immediately reverse its maximum pressure campaign on Iran. Add your name now. The health of the Iranian people — and global health and safety — depends on it.
We at CODEPINK have been working to get the medical-related sanctions on Iran lifted since an October 2019 Human Rights Watch report was released outlining how the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign is preventing life-saving medicines from entering the country. Finally, last week, with the coronavirus outbreak, the Treasury Department announced that it would waive certain sanctions for humanitarian supplies to go through Iran’s central bank. But it is far too little, too late, as the financial risks and reputational costs for companies to engage in even lawful humanitarian trade with Iran are severe.
Even before the worldwide coronavirus epidemic began, US sanctions on Iran have been wreaking havoc on the Iranian economy. The price of housing, food, and transportation soared. Iranian patients had a difficult time accessing life-saving medicines for cancer, epilepsy, and chronic eye injuries from chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. Decades of US interventions in the Middle East have left the area war-ravaged and in disarray, ripe for the coronavirus tornado that is picking up wind right now in Iran.
On Wednesday, March 11, we will personally deliver the petition to the US Treasury Department office in D.C. during a protest where we will attempt to quarantine the Treasury Department for contributing to Iran becoming an epicenter for the coronavirus.
In addition to demanding that the Treasury Department lift the sanctions on Iran, we are also taking immediate action to get medical supplies into Iran. The National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) has identified two organizations — Relief International and Moms Against Poverty — that have licenses to conduct relief work in Iran.
Relief International is supplying face masks, sanitizers, test kits and treatment to affected individuals and Moms Against Poverty is supplying masks, surgical gloves, disinfectant wipes, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizers to medical clinics and hospitals that serve vulnerable communities, as well as food and other basic necessities to families affected.
Make no mistake about it, the suffering that the Trump administration is inflicting upon the Iranian people is intentional. In February 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bragged to CBS News that “things are much worse for the Iranian people [with the US sanctions].”
With the coronavirus whipping across Iran like a tsunami, it is only a matter of time before Trump’s maximum pressure campaign is stigmatized across the world as the dangerous, cruel, and vile act of war that it is. How many Iranian lives has it already taken and for how long will we allow this to continue?
THE LETTER: Sending love to the people of Iran,
After China and South Korea, Iran has the largest number of coronavirus cases per population and it isn’t by coincidence. US sanctions on Iran have devastated the country’s healthcare industry and contributed to its inability to respond to the crisis. Add your name now to the Treasury Department letter demanding that they immediately lift the sanctions on Iran. We also have an avenue for you to donate medical supplies to reach Iran quickly.