Want to Help Iranian Protesters? Lift the Sanctions.

Ordinary Iranians have been putting their lives on the line against theocracy and apartheid.

After the apparent murder of a Kurdish woman by “guided patrols” (Iran’s Religious Police Force), weeks of protests have meet with “bullet, metal pellet, gruesome beating, murder, kidnapping and disappearance.”

Anyone interested in basic human rights should sympathize with Brave women and men stand up against the regime in Iran. But expressions of sympathy can turn out to be empty. Sympathy doesn’t buy groceries for Iranians who have lost their jobs because of protesting the regime, and that certainly doesn’t stop bullets or drive political prisoners out of their cells.

So – should “we” (i.e. the US government) do something about it?

The question inevitably arises when a crisis related to human rights violations erupts in a remote part of the world — or in at least it happens if it happens in a country that we normally consider an enemy. And in mainstream political discourse, “do something” almost always means “bomb someone,” “punish someone,” or “send an army.”

These are blunt tools in the foreign policy of our empire and as a citizen of a nation. maintain hundreds of military bases around the globe, it’s hard to get out of your mind this way.

But in this case, there is one easy and obvious thing the United States can do to help Iranians struggling against their despicable regime — and it’s the exact opposite of “doing something.” in the usual sense.

We should lift sanctions on the Iranian government that keep ordinary Iranians on the brink of misery, limit their access to the world and make it harder for them to take risks. to oppose the regime.

Help Iranians without playing the role of “World Police”

I understand, the suggestion seems absurd.

If you think of America as the police of the world and less powerful countries than the criminals that we control by patrolling the streets, then suggest that we leave Iran alone when it goes public Serious crimes seem to be exactly the opposite. If you think this way, we should think of new ways to collectively punish that country. But we desperately need to stop thinking that way.

That is the mindset that has led Americans to support catastrophic wars in recent decades. When then-President George W. Bush sent troops to invade Iran’s neighboring Iraq, we were told that those troops would be welcomed as liberators. They were greeted with years of rebellion, chaos and resentment as more and more working-class Americans returned home in flag-covered coffins.

… there is one easy and obvious thing America can do to help Iranians struggling against their despicable regime — and it’s the exact opposite of ‘doing something’ in the conventional sense. .

In another Iran’s neighbor, Afghanistan, the United States toppled a theocracy even more heinous than that in Tehran – and has spectacularly failed to build a new state with enough support. popular support to last long enough for the US military to reach the airport 20 years later.

Does anyone believe that if Joe Biden sent the 82nd Squadron to bring democracy to Iran, the outcome would be better?

Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan have the military capabilities of Iran. The Islamic Republic has enough weapons of war to admit that Vladimir Putin killed Ukrainians with an Iranian drone – a horror that will likely be stopped if the US prepares to lift sanctions Iran and normalization of relations. In such a scenario, Iran would have something to lose with this aid – but as of now, they don’t.

A war with Iran would make Iraq and Afghanistan look like little skirmishes.

That is, perhaps, why so few people can seriously advocate such a thing on their own.

So what if you think “doing something” means taking positive action? Should we use some cruise missiles? Iran’s reaction to President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate one of its senior military commanders, Qasem Soleimani, leaves little doubt that the Islamic Republic will not take such action – they will. fight back, and it would likely lead to a broader war that would be a disaster for the United States and, of course, a huge boon to the regime’s domestic popularity.

Imposing sweeping sanctions? We did that too. That is part of the problem.

How Sanctions Help Elite Iranians — And Hurt Ordinary Iranians

Iran received sanctions relief in 2015 as part of a nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama. But when Trump took the neologism’s advice and backed out of that deal, that relief vanished.

And of course, Iran hasn’t gone on to make half of its bargain. Why would they? If you think the world is a safer place without Iran’s nuclear arsenal, that’s another reason for the US to suggest lifting sanctions.

Those sanctions limit many Iranians’ access to not only the world economy but also the Internet. They make wealth extremely difficult to accumulate by anyone outside the elite connected to the regime.

When I asked academic Kurdish and podcaster Djene Bajalan about this, he pointed out that smuggling and embargoes are rampant — but high-ranking officials, their friends, who run “religious funding.” “linked to the mode etc. is clearly the best- positioned to get out of this activity and profit from it. And such people do not have to send of them Children go to schools where they live in fear of guided patrols. Iran’s aghazadeh (children of the elite, or literally “children of lords”) were often sent to schools in countries such as Canada.

Meanwhile, Iranians on the street chanting “Women, Life, Freedom” must worry about how they will feed their families. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Impact of Sanctions said about their “devastating humanitarian impact.”

Anyone who has ever tried to do things like organize a union in their workplace — never mind a mass uprising in a country — knows that people who have to worry about the needs of The background of their loved ones would be understandable given their reluctance to take personal risks for their own reasons. can be sympathized in the summary. If Iran’s vile regime persists as it is happening right now, a major reason would be economic desperation forcing people back to normal life.

If you want the emotional satisfaction of punishing someone and fulfilling the world’s police fantasy, you’ll have to turn the other way to find a solution. But if you really want to help the women and men living on the streets of Iran right now, lift the sanctions.


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