State Dept. Gets Asked the Moral Question on Iran Sanctions

John Glaser, October 02, 2012

In a press briefing yesterday with State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, an unusual question was asked about the morality of the US-led sanctions regime on Iran, which is primarily hurting the population.

QUESTION: Do you have any concern about the effects – the ill effects that the severe depreciation in the currency may have on the Iranian people? When it’s trading – it’s I think something like 32,000 to 1, that inevitably is going to fuel inflation for anything that is imported. Does it bother you that this may hurt the Iranian people?

MS. NULAND: Well, any depreciation of currency is always going to affect the people who use the currency. The issue here are the choices that the Iranian Government is making, and this is the issue, that the Iranian Government needs to make different choices with regard to its nuclear program if it wants to get into a conversation with us about a step-by-step process, including on the sanctions side.

QUESTION: Now, obviously, the Iranian Government, at least for the time being, is very stubborn; it will remain so. So at what point it becomes really a moral question that the people – 80 million-plus – should suffer so severely because of the stubbornness of their government?

MS. NULAND: Again, we want the Iranian people as well to understand that this is a direct response to the choices that their government has made in the context of the international community offering them a diplomatic way out, which they should take.

Find the full exchange here (I edited out most of Nuland’s evasions). As Antiwar.com’s own Justin Raimondo wrote in 1998 of the sanctions on Iraq: “This exterminationist policy is the logical consequence of a mindset that equates the people of a nation with its government, and therefore punishes the former for the crimes (both real and imagined) of the latter. In the calculus of power, individuals do not count: there are no Iraqis, only the nation of Iraq. The fundamental indifference to justice of the collectivist mentality is underscored by a policy that refuses to distinguish between Saddam and his victims.”

And so it goes for the Iranian regime. Here we have a US official coming face to face with the reality that the US-led economic warfare on Iran is cruelly strangling the population of sustenance, and she tries to claim its the ayatollahs’ fault, not ours. She tells the Iranian people they must suffer for what the regime’s policies are (this is the same regime that Washington continuously decries as undemocratic).

And what is it exactly that Tehran has done to bring on these sanctions? It can’t be punishment for an ongoing nuclear weapons program – US intelligence says it doesn’t exist. Economic sanctions are notoriously ineffective at changing policy in the desired direction anyhow, so why impose them?

Iran is a regional powerhouse that doesn’t happen to be a US client. That leverage, at a time when Washington is concerned about its own waning influence, is a threat. So sanctions are imposed, as the Washington Post reported in January, to destabilize the regime. Secondly, the Obama administration has been under heavy pressure from Israel and Congress to be hawkish on Iran. And since he’s up for election this year, he’d better be laying the groundwork for starvation and strife in Iran. How else to get reelected?

See here and here for more details on how the sanctions are directly contributing to a collapse of the Iranian economy, and even keeping much needed medicines from the sick and infirm.




23 Responses to “State Dept. Gets Asked the Moral Question on Iran Sanctions”

  1. Ms. Vicky is amoral and that becomes the moral issue. The United States commits wars of naked aggression which are crimes against humanity and using Ms. Vicky's logic(?), the American people are to blame.
    Oh wait, the American people are to blame.

  2. [...] State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked in a press briefing on Monday if it “bother[s]” her “that this may hurt the Iranian people,” [...]

  3. One more example of Obama's gutless pandering to the Israel Firsters in Congress and the Israeli lobbyists.

  4. It is collective punishment no matter how you spin it. It is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Federal law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and no matter that the corrupt and useless UN (in)Security Cousel authorizes it, it violates the UN Charter. US and Israeli (same scum) intelligence and military officials also say Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons and that even if they were to obtain them they could not use them without terrible reprisal. The Israeli fanatics call the shots and they need apocalypse.

  5. It's outrageous. The sanctions are being used along with fright tactics to raise the faux Iran bogeyman thesis. There is so much nonsense about the Iranian so-called threat. Even if they had a nuke or two they're not going to threaten anyone with it, let alone use it in a pre-emptive capacity, because they don't want to be annihilated – it would only be for deterrence. That's why the US and Israel are pulling out all the stops… after all they want to feel free to invade Iran anytime they want to… and a nuke or two would jettison that possibility. Meanwhile the Iranian people are paying for the pseudo "threat" that is being manufactured.

  6. the key point is that Iraq invaded 2 countries, used WMD to kill hundreds of thousands, and was responsible to other atrocities. Iran has done NOTHING!!!

  7. Iran threatens to "wipe israel off the map". They support terrorism efforts around the world and Ahmadinejad is a psychopathic ticking time bomb…..the problem with liberals is, they think if were nice to these people they will like us when in fact they HATE us and want all liberals and conservatives DEAD. They dont like America because A. We are not a Muslim nation and B. We have a far better quality of life…..figure it out hippies, there really is evil in the world, not just boogey men. If we dont confront evil, we get bludgened like on 911, or D-Day….we give more to the world and Iran than any country in history, maybe we should completely cut them off till they learn to appreciate America.

  8. Is this parody ?.

  9. He thinks we give aid to Iran. That's not parody. Comedy maybe.

  10. We have given (in the past) more to Iran than any other country has, we even helped start their nuke program over 50 yrs ago….the only comedy is people who live in the dark due to a warped ideology. it's actually scary.

  11. If Iran were to trigger a physics device on the shores of the US, the same liberals now coddling Ahmedinejad and preaching play yard ethics as weltpolitik would then blame the US for a myriad of offenses calling down a just retribution from Iran.

    Conservatism is vile and mindless, and the worst ideology except for a liberalism driven by self-hate.

  12. And YET we're lied to time and again that it wasn't the US that built the reactors but it was stolen secrets passed on by the Chinese and North Koreans that "enboldened" them! What rubbish.

  13. Parody? No. Idiotic delusions? Yes.

  14. "Iran is a regional powerhouse that doesn’t happen to be a US client."

    The second part of this sentence is correct, but the first part is not. Iran is not a "powerhouse" in any sense. It is a third-rate military and industrial power that can't even refine its own gasoline. It is no threat to anybody but its own people.

  15. i am amazed at the double standards of our goverment regarding Iran and Israel. Is there any hope?

  16. There is only one country that can to this day cannot be trusted with a bomb. There is only one country that can be called a nuclear terrorist. There is only one country cowardly enough to use and has used nuclear weapons. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not collateral damage. They were deliberately murdered . All because the united states military was to frightened to fight the Japanese military if they invaded Japan. What is that great American saying. If the going gets tough let's attack their civilians using weapons of mass destruction because were to chicken to fight their soldiers. We are the nuclear terrorists. We just can't admit it.

  17. Excellent post. Learned a lot.

  18. [...] lot longer and more clumsy in the official transcripts, this abridged version was made possible by antiwar.com.  Every major conflict taking place today and every conflict throughout history are the result of [...]

  19. [...] So much about the nature of war, empire and government is exposed in this small exchange, which was actually a lot longer and more clumsy in the official transcripts, this abridged version was made possible by antiwar.com. [...]

  20. [...] So much about the nature of war, empire and government is exposed in this small exchange, which was actually a lot longer and more clumsy in the official transcripts, this abridged version was made possible by antiwar.com. [...]

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