Context: America’s refusal to ease sanctions on Iran even when the West Asian country is struggling hard to contain the novel coronavirus spread with limited resources.
Current scenario in Iran:
- Iran is the hardest hit by the pandemic in West Asia, has already seen 3,739 deaths and 62,589 infections.
- Iran failed on multiple fronts in the battle:
- The government was initially reluctant to enforce drastic restrictions on businesses, religious establishments and people.
- Inefficiency of Iran’ health care system: infections began spreading at an exponential pace, it was more than what Iran’s health-care system could handle.
- Struggling to meet people’s needs: Cash crunch and sanctions of the USA accentuated the problem.
- The sanctions, reimposed by President Trump after unilaterally pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, shrank the country’s economy by 8.7%.
- Recent fall in oil prices and the pandemic have multiplied Iran’s woes. Now, Iran also lacks the resources to make necessary purchases.
- The USA said exports of essential goods needed to fight pandemic are already exempted and rejected calls for easing sanctions.
Impact of sanctions:
- No functional payment mechanism with Iran: Most global banks, fearing U.S. retaliation and legal consequences, stay away from doing business with Iran, which makes it difficult for Iran to find a functional payment mechanism.
Both countries should reconsider its policies:
- The USA with one of the largest numbers of infections should try to understand the situation of Iran. Despite the U.S. being the world’s largest economy, and home to a gigantic health-care industry, authorities appear clueless on quick containment.
- Washington should have suspended or at least eased the sanctions on Iran, allowing the country to import food, medicines and other humanitarian goods without restrictions.
- Such a decision would have provided opportunities to both the countries to resume diplomatic engagement.
- Instead of America bashing, Tehran’s focus should be on getting maximum help from abroad and beefing up its fight at home to save lives.
Image Source: Leftvoice.org