By signing this petition, you send the message that the sanctions levied against Iran and Syria cause privation and death and are unacceptable tools of foreign policy and diplomacy. This is the fundamental point.
The Iranian government is in full compliance with its treaty obligations under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Sanctions against Iran will not cause the Iranian government to change its position on any issue. The sanctions will not further peaceful development and trade in the region.
The sanctions against Syria also undermine the ability of the Syrian people to determine their own fate.
In general, the unilateral use of sanctions on the part of the United States to promote its interests around the world is increasingly at odds with the goal of promoting peaceful development and trade. While sanctions may in some cases be an effective tool, such cases are rare and the effectiveness of sanctions is limited. Other examples of nations where the lifting or easing of sanctions has promoted or could promote democracy include Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Burma.
The WFP has only been able to feed up to 1.5 million people in Syria each month because of the fighting and a lack of local partners capable of delivering aid.
Its activities have been restricted because the government stopped it developing formal relationships with many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in Syria, said WFP executive-director Ertharin Cousin.
"We have now been given that authority from the government," Cousin told a news briefing in Geneva.
Volunteers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, WFP's main local partner, deliver most WFP supplies but are overstretched.
Western governments have built waivers into the sanctions regime – aimed at persuading Tehran to curb its nuclear programme – in an effort to ensure that essential medicines get through, but those waivers are not functioning, as they conflict with blanket restrictions on banking, as well as bans on "dual-use" chemicals which might have a military application.
A senior British official acknowledged that discussions between London, Brussels and Washington had been going on for months with the aim of unblocking the supply of medicines, but without a decisive outcome. "The problem is that for some of the big pharmaceutical companies and banks it's just not worth the hassle and the risk of reputational damage, so they just steer clear," the official said.
In addition, there are over 8,000 haemophiliacs who are finding it harder to get blood clotting agents. Operations on haemophiliacs have been virtually suspended because of the risks created by the shortages. An estimated 23,000 Iranians with HIV/Aids have had their access to the drugs they need to keep them alive severely restricted. The society representing the 8,000 Iranians suffering from thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder, has said its members are beginning to die because of a lack of an essential drug, deferoxamine, used to control the iron content in the blood.
US and European governments put the blame squarely on the Tehran regime. "Financial sanctions against Iran are in place because of the Iranian government's refusal to address the international community's well-founded concerns about its nuclear programme," said John Sullivan, a US treasury spokesman. "If there is in fact a shortage of some medicines in Iran, it is due to choices made by the Iranian government, not the US government."
One of the unintended consequences of sanctions on the health sector is that they have strengthened companies linked to the regime and the Revolutionary Guards at the expense of the private sector, because of their privileged access to hard currency at the official rate. In some cases, those regime-connected firms are actually using their access to cheap foreign currency to acquire drugs cheaply and smuggle them into Iraq, deepening the crisis.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini said Monday that Iran would no longer use euro and dollar in its trade exchanges according to a decission made by the government's economic working-group. Iranian state news agency IRNA writes about this.
Syria and Iran have agreed a $1 billion credit facility between Commercial Bank of Syria and Export Development Bank of Iran, Syrian state television reported on Wednesday.
Only if Tehran provided “meaningful concessions”, among them suspending all uranium enrichment and heavy water-related projects, closing the underground enrichment facility at Fordow, and accepting a highly intrusive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections regime – should sanctions relief be considered, said the report, which was co-authored by FDD’s president, Mark Dubowitz, and David Albright, a physicist who heads the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
In that respect, the recommendations appeared to reflect more the position held by Israel than that of the Obama administration, which has suggested that it will not necessarily insist on a total suspension of uranium enrichment – a demand that Iran has consistently rejected and which many Iran specialists believe is a deal-killer – as a condition for possible sanctions relief.
“The focal point wasn’t to say, ‘Saddle up, we’re going to war in six months,’” said Leonard Spector, deputy director of the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies and a co-chair of one of the five task forces that contributed to the report. “This was a more careful assessment of how much time we had, and it allows the sort of (sanctions) pressure, which has been mounting, to have more impact.”
Iranian officials have suggested over the last several months that they are willing to make major concessions, including halting their enrichment of uranium up to 20 percent, transferring a substantial portion of their 20-percent enriched stockpile out of the country, and accepting enhanced IAEA inspections, provided they receive major sanctions relief in exchange. But they have also insisted that their right to enrichment of up to five percent is nonnegotiable.
That the report’s recommendations coincided closely with Israel’s positions may have been due in part to the heavy involvement in the project by staff members from both FDD, which has been a leading proponent of “economic warfare” against Iran, and the Dershowitz Group, a media relations firm with FDD shares office space and reportedly cooperates closely.
Several Dershowitz account executives included in the report’s acknowledgments have previously been associated with Hasbara Fellowships, a group set up by the right-wing, Israel-based Aish HaTorah International, to counter alleged anti-Israel sentiment at U.S. universities. IPS inquiries into the project’s sources of funding went unanswered.