One Big Thing: Should the U.S. Ease Iran’s Sanctions during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
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What is it?
- Earlier this week, Iran announced it will begin to resume normal life despite the significant COVID-19 outbreak it faced in February and March. Many citizens are worried about the potential of a second wave if social distancing is abandoned.
- The Iranians government’s initial response to the outbreak was to impose an ineffective and harsh quarantine, restrict citizens basic freedoms, and cover up the outbreak’s effects from the international community. Satellite images also documented the construction of mass graves large enough to see from space for COVID-19 deaths.
- Iran also released prisoners to prevent further outbreaks but ignored the numerous political prisoners unjustly incarcerated by the regime. Amnesty international reported that 36 prisoners were killed during protests over fears of contracting the coronavirus.
Why is it important?
- Iran’s reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated its complete and utter disregard for its citizen’s safety and public health. The government recently kicked out Doctors without Borders, showing its commitment to preventing legitimate reporting on their true outbreak statistics rather than prioritizing public health concerns.
- Some have argued the U.S. should ease its economic sanctions on Iran to allow medical supplies into the country to help the stem the outbreak and avoid a humanitarian nightmare. Yet, even Iran had indicated that it had enough medical supplies to address its COVID-19 outbreak.
- Iran’s human rights record is abysmal. Recently, they have shot down a Ukrainian Airliner, killed and suppressed thousands of protesters, and rigged February’s parliamentary election. This is largely orchestrated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has truly ran the country since 1989.
What can you do?
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