The Coronavirus Is Absolutely No Excuse to Lift Sanctions on Iran

(Foreign Policy) Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg - A chorus of Americans and Europeans are exploiting the coronavirus crisis in Iran to push the Trump administration to lift sanctions against Iran. This is fundamentally dishonest - the sanctions do not restrict medical supplies and other forms of humanitarian aid. Iran's human rights record is one of the worst in the world. Last fall, the regime killed 1,500 people who peacefully protested the dictatorship's mishandling of the economy. Soon after, it blew a passenger airliner out of the sky, killing everyone on board. A few weeks ago, Iranian-backed militias killed two U.S. and one British soldier in Iraq. Last week, we learned that Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent held by Iran, died in captivity. More Americans and other foreigners, arbitrarily detained and falsely accused of being spies, remain hostage in Iranian jails today. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved diverting billions of dollars from Iran's sovereign wealth fund over the last two years to finance terrorism, human rights abuses, and expanded nuclear activities. Yet when it comes to fighting a pandemic to save lives, there's allegedly no money to be found. Sanctions relief would only make these challenges worse. So would a $5 billion International Monetary Fund bailout requested by Iran. Khamenei's nuclear program continues without delay. The regime hasn't stopped supporting terrorism or killing Americans. Concerns regarding money laundering, corruption, and diversion of humanitarian goods remain unresolved. Putting money into the hands of this government will neither solve the pandemic in Iran nor improve global security. Sanctions relief for the regime should be a non-starter. The Iranian government is the problem, not U.S. sanctions. Mark Dubowitz is CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at FDD, was the U.S. National Security Council's Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction from 2019 to 2020.

2020-04-01 00:00:00

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