US activists to Biden: No sanctions with Tehran dialogue. Plan B disastrous
In an open letter to the White House, 47 NGOs stress that the policy of "maximum pressure" with Tehran does not work. Their impact only ends up hindering the fight against Covid-19 and impoverishing the population. NIAC president: no time to lose, in front of "dangerous" escalation
Washington (AsiaNews) - The policy of "maximum pressure" by means of "sanctions" of the United States against Iran is not working, all the more so today when efforts are aimed at recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Their impact, combined with the consequences of measures to counter the virus, has devastating effects on families, and continuing to prolong punitive economic measures would be "inexcusable."
This is what the representatives of 47 NGOs led by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) wrote in an open letter addressed to US President Joe Biden, according to which "there is no more time to lose" to stop the crisis. Hence the positive opinion about the decision to resume the nuclear talks (Jcpoa 2015) on November 29 in Vienna.
Dozens of groups appeal to the tenant of the White House to resume diplomatic relations with the Iranian government, starting with a "necessary and proper" assistance in humanitarian aid in the fight against the coronavirus, and the return to the agreement.
The sanctions, stress the signatories, should not reduce vaccine supplies or block the (limited) resources necessary to supply humanitarian goods, at the same time, it is necessary to allow access to funding for public health and support to the many Afghan refugees now in the Islamic Republic.
Iran is among the most affected nations in the Middle East by Covid-19, in terms of the number of cases and victims; U.S. sanctions would have contributed to a slowdown in efforts to contain the spread of the virus and exacerbated overall poverty. Sara Haghdoosti, deputy director of Win Without War (among the 47 signatory NGOs), rejects the policy of maximum pressure and sanctions that "have not worked", with an "unjustifiable" impact on fragile people. "We must resolve this challenge," he adds, "not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it opens more doors on the diplomatic front as well.
Over the past two years, Tehran progressively violated the terms of the pact by easing restrictions on nuclear activities.
The first steps in this direction date back to 2019, in response to the May 2018 withdrawal by the then US President Donald Trump from the JCPOA and the reintroduction of the toughest sanctions in history, causing a collapse of the Iranian economy. The temporary agreement expired on June 24 and international diplomats have been working on a new nuclear deal.
However, the aftermath of the presidential elections that saw the victory of the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi raises fears of a definitive collapse of the talks.
Among the organizations that have signed the open letter are the American Muslim Bar Association, the Christian Pacemaker Teams, the Jewis Voice for Peace and Action, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the National Iranian American Council (Niac) and Win Without War.
According to the activists, rumours of a shift from diplomacy to so-called "Plan B" (military) are "very troubling" and an armed confrontation would end up undermining regional security, weakening anti-proliferation efforts, undermining the global fight against Covid-19 and "the risk of a disastrous war."
Jamal Abdi, NIAC president, stresses “There is still a window of opportunity for President Biden to restore the Iran nuclear deal and avoid a dangerous escalation to war, but creative solutions are urgently needed... There’s no time to waste.” Trita Parsi, vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, warns, "Restoring the Iran nuclear deal is a national security imperative for the United States.
And it is troubling that there is already talk of a Plan B without first exhausting all diplomatic avenues." Abdi concludes, "by taking humanitarian steps to allow Iranians to combat COVID-19, the U.S. can get a win-win that boosts our diplomats at the negotiating table and saves lives."