Are We Laying the Groundwork for ‘Genocide’ in Iran?
From the Guardian, yet another testimony on how the US-led economic warfare on Iran is tearing people’s lives apart:
For Fatemeh, the pill she takes twice a day in her home in Iran means the difference between life and death. Earlier this summer when she contacted her friend Mohammad in the US to say she was running out of the medicine due to a shortage, the obvious thing for her fellow Iranian to do was to order it from the chemist next door and have it shipped directly to Iran. To the dismay of Fatemeh and Mohammad, the order was rejected because of US sanctions on trade with Iran.
…”My friend suffers from Brugada syndrome [a heart condition] and has abnormal electrocardiogram and is at risk of sudden death,” said Mohammad, who lives in Moorhead, Minnesota. “There is one drug that is very effective in regulating the electrocardiogram, and hence preventing cardiac arrest. It is called quinidine sulfate and is manufactured in the US.”
Mohammad ultimately circumvented the problem by having the medicine ordered to his home address and sent to Iran through friends. “By the time she got the pills, her own supply was finishing within four days, what if we couldn’t send them in time? Who would be responsible if anything had happened to her?” he asked.
The Guardian piece also cites Iran’s Haemophilia Society, which, as Muhammad Sahimi first let Antiwar.com readers know last week, “recently blamed the sanctions for risking thousands of children’s lives due to a lack of proper drugs.” As Sahimi reported, “the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Iran’s banks and other financial institutions have made importing necessary drugs and medical instruments almost impossible.”
Reports indicate that advanced drugs for a variety of cancers (particularly leukemia), heart diseases, lung problems, multiple sclerosis, and thalassemia cannot be imported, endangering the lives of tens of thousands of people. There are about 37,000 Iranians with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease that can be controlled only with advanced medications; without them, the patients will die. And given that, even under the best medical conditions,40,000 Iranians lose their lives to cancer every year, and that it has been predicted by many experts that Iran will have a “cancer tsunami” by 2015, because every year 70,000–80,000 new cases of cancer are identified in Iran, the gravity of the situation becomes even more glaring.
Besides this, unemployment is rising and inflation is spiraling out of control. “Prices of fruit and sugar, among other staples, have soared – in some cases showing threefold and fourfold increases,” Saeed Kamali Dehghan wrote in the Guardian last month. “The price of meat, an essential ingredient of Iranian food, has gone up to such an extent that many now eat it only on special occasions.” This is Iran’s punishment for their non-existent nuclear weapons program.
It’s increasingly obvious that Washington’s aim is to harm the Iranian people. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has admitted they aren’t changing the policies of the regime, but has insisted on their continuance nevertheless. As one of the top supporters of sanctions, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), said, “Critics [of the sanctions] argued that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.” Or take Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY): “The goal … is to inflict crippling, unendurable economic pain over there. Iran’s banking sector — especially its central bank — needs to become the financial equivalent of Chernobyl: radioactive, dangerous and most of all, empty.”
One of the major atrocities of all of post-WWII US foreign policy was the American-led sanctions on Iraq, which ended up killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. We heard the same odious rationales for the sanctions on Iraq as we are now hearing for the sanctions on Iran. Denis Halliday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, insisted the effect of the Iraq sanctions “fit the definition of genocide.” If those on Iran are not stopped soon, it may turn out to be just as deadly.