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A Dedicated Obsession: Washington’s Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime

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A Dedicated Obsession: Washington’s Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime


Submitted by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

One dogma that is likely to persist in US foreign policy during a Biden presidency will be the sanctions regime adopted towards Iran.  Every messianic state craves clearly scripted enemies, and the demonology about the Islamic Republic is not going to go begging.  Elliot Abrahams, the current US special representative for Iran, told Associated Press on November 12 that, “Even if you went back to the (nuclear deal) and even if the Iranians were willing to return … this newly enriched uranium, you would not have solved these fundamental questions of whether Iran is going to be permitted to violate long-term commitments it has made to the world community.”

It is worth pointing out that it was President Donald Trump who proved so itchy to renege on the nuclear deal to begin with.  In May 2018, his administration formally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the long negotiated harvest of the Obama administration in July 2015.  Over the course of 120 days, it re-imposed all previously lifted economic sanctions, including “secondary sanctions” on non-US entities conducting financial or commercial transactions with Iran. A unilateral shredding of Washington’s own undertakings was made while still expecting the mullahs to continue in sweet compliance.

The less than compliant response from Tehran has not made this one of Trump’s finer moments: an abandonment of nuclear limits marked out by the agreement; a resumption of the nuclear program; an increasingly emboldened stance in the Middle East.  According to UN inspectors, Iran’s enriched stockpile currently lies at 2,440 kilograms.  Under the deal, it would have been under 300 kilograms.  All of this took place despite the precipitous fall in oil exports, a decline in currency value and a steep rise in inflation.

Even before the pandemic, human rights organisations were already warning about the broader health implications of a brutal sanctions regime.  As Human Rights Watch explained in an October 2019 report, the consequences of such sanctions “pose a serious threat to Iranians’ right to health and access to essential medicines – and has almost certainly contributed to documented shortages – ranging from a lack of critical drugs for epilepsy patients to limited chemotherapy medications for Iranians with cancer.”

The US State Department and the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control continue to maintain that humanitarian goods, which also covers medicine and medical supplies, are exempt in the sanctions policy.  A rosily inaccurate picture, given the imposition of sanctions on 18 Iranian banks including those entities engaged in financing foods and medicines.  To this comes the added complication of what the US considers “dual use” items: hazmat suits, face shields, oxygen generators, air filters.  Decisions to grant exemptions, the purview of bureaucrats, are tardily made.

The advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic inspired a ghoulish train of thought in the Trump administration.  Easing sanctions to better enable Iran to cope with COVID-19 was never entertained.  Instead, as Djavad Salehi-Isfahani of the Brookings Institute observed, “the US piled on more sanctions, and chose to ignore calls from world leaders, former US diplomats, and the United Nations to ease sanctions.”  Such a bloodthirsty sentiment was captured by the Wall Street Journal in March 2020, whose editors decided that sanctions should continue, despite Iran becoming a pandemic hotspot.  “If American sanctions were the culprit, it might be reasonable to consider lifting them.  But the regime’s incompetence and self-interest are to blame.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif thought differently of it, accusing the US of “medical terrorism” in blunting Tehran’s efforts to access financial resources during the COVID-19 crisis.  Hadi Yazdani, a physician and a member of the reformist Union of Islamic People Party, sports a more nuanced view: US sanctions have well hobbled the government’s pandemic policy, but so has inefficiency and habitual bureaucratic mismanagement.

The dedicatedly nasty sanctions regime encouraged and enforced by the United States is now frustrating efforts in the country to make advance payment to the COVAX facility, created to assist in providing future COVID-19 vaccines to more indigent states.  This will become more pressing, given rising death tolls.  (On November 13, 461 were reported in the state media.)

The rate of COVID-19 infections is also scorching: 11,737 cases over 24 hours from Friday, according to Sima Sadat Lari, a health ministry spokeswoman who has become the regular herald of doom.  She also admitted that various questions on the vaccines remained unanswered, notably in terms of “how effective the vaccine is and for what groups it is more effective.”

During the transition period in US politics, we can expect the Trump administration to be particularly testy about modifying its position on sanctions.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to busy himself with blacklisting Iranian entities.  The Treasury Department, for instance, recently placed a supply chain network on the list, claiming it “facilitated the procurement of sensitive goods, including US-origin electronic components” for an Iranian entity linked to the production of “military communication systems, avionics, information technology, electronic warfare, and missile launchers.”

Pompeo – and in this, he has a few devotees- argues that a return to the nuclear deal would be dotty and dangerous.  “It’s a crazy idea to think that you’re going to get back into a deal that permitted a clean pathway for the Iranians to have a nuclear weapon by which they could terrorize the entire world.”  President-elect Joe Biden, for his part, insists that Iran “must return to strict compliance with the deal.  If it does so, I would rejoin the agreement and use our renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities.”

The statements of the president-elect suggest nothing comforting to health specialists and policy makers bearing witness to the suffering caused by sanctions.  Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy might be abandoned in name, but will continue exerting a haunting influence.  The hawks in the Republican Party will be sharpening their talons, ever watchful of any softening towards Tehran.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com


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Zionism = EVIL

Well kids, half a dozen fuckwit Americunt “presidents” have achieved fuckall against Iran in 42 years. While just look at the Americunt banana republic ROFLMAO!


Zionism = EVIL

The Americunt dumbass fuckwits expressing themselves LOL


catalin zt

Anglo-saxon capitalist-fascist MONKEYS!

Jens Holm

Typical not representive picture of USA of today.

Proud Hindu

Worry about iran idiot.If you persian assholes do something funny,the US will wipe out your filthy shia empire.

Concrete Mike

Oh really, your globo homo us army didnt respond after iranian ballistic.missiles hit them hard in january.

Short memory goldfish?


you must be joking we will kick americas head in on january you hind animal kneel its in your nature to kneel infront of us iranians you shall kneel or we will make you suffer of hunger plague and famine will wipe you clean believe it or not you are our subjects and that for eternity


we will wipe the zionists from the face of the earth and after it continue to talk as if you had anything to say you dirty cowpiss drinker

Jim Allen

No, US Government won’t. You are mistaken pitiful troll. Had you been paying attention when the former head of Israeli intelligence services, was speaking, you would’ve learned US military cannot defeat Iran in conventional war. Should the arrogant sociopaths, and lunatics attack Iran it will lose. It was the man’s job to understand things of this nature, he did not become head of what was the best intelligence services in the world, Because he’s inept. Search Yakov Kedmi if you’re curious, and able to comprehend at the grammar school level.

Proud Hindu

Btw 3 persian a$$hokes were kilked on azerbaijan border.I enjoyed it with a glass of whisky ;)

Jens Holm

Those Presidents are the chosen ones. I see many soiuntries like fx Iran, which not even has a choise.

A bad system replaced and even more bad system.


So a two party system in which the supreme authority is a capitalist theocracy is superior to a 4 party system with an Islamic theocracy?

Yea in the USA anyone can rise to be president … provided of course he’s selected for the task by one of only two political parties and gets a billion dollars in campaign donations from the nations capitalists hence giving the capitalists veto power over who runs in elections.

Joao Alfaiate

When it comes to the Middle East in the USA there is only one party, the Zionist Party, with Republican and Democratic wings.

Jens Holm

Thats right. They educate themself so they can handle advanced things. Thats why they has more influence, where You think influence is only tons of Your muslim meat.

You work and You eat. If You work harder, better and can handle more advanced things, You also can choose.

Now go back with You hands under You and do nothiong or from the good days of Islam, where Youall were rubbing us. But stop complaining. You make Yourself into non infuenciels by all the things which are Haram. YOU DICIDED THAT.

Jews and christians didnt write the Choran for You. Muhammed made Your devastating acces to economy as well.

The other half of You even rasise small girls and women for sale. Herein Denmark the women contribute with 22.000 dollar each and we dont give them divorse money, BECAUSE they work just as we men do and most of them in same jobs.

As long as You behave as an old day Zoo in USA, many will treat You as animals.

I know the difference from my first real job here in Denmark. So many of those snotty little muslim boys thpught the rest of us(we were low and not even mulsims) were below them and waiters. They always should have the biggest apple too.

In the schools they didnt listen to Our female teachers because they those were women and women knows nothing of importance and make do important decidings.

But there was one problem: More then half og Our teachers were andf are women. So many hardly learned half and after the, non will have You unless You briung out newspapers or something.

We are not born with respect . We GAIN RESPECT for what we do or dont. Ots exact the same at heavens gate, where Gab´riel help Allah adding and subtracting thing.

Here its long time before that if You do what You can…

Im sure many americans see You as less bright and Your vomen even mpre stuoid.

But fact says You have made that forced choise and by that should not bame others for it. 7 of 8 in the world also eat pork. You are abnormal in this too – if You choose.

Jens Holm

USA never has decided, there should be 2 parties. They can make as many as they like.

I will remind You that the 50 states often has more then 2 parties as well they eclect as majority takes all or divide in %.

So they have chisen. We have 8 parties in Our prlament now. And the local parties even has local list and sometimes not all those 8s.

The USA system is made as a contrast to, what they did not like, where they came from(norhern Europe). Since then both has develloped. …………………………………………………….

I also will remond You that at least 3 has runned for President in USA several times. I remeber a George Wallace. ……………………………………………………..

And yes, if You want wellfare and motivations to work and invent for that, You dont need Islam in its worst as we too often see.

If its about Iran its a barkig mad system of the worst kind. Its like Vikings running Our parlament.


“USA never has decided, there should be 2 parties. They can make as many as they like.”

I’m not arguing that the USA is a constitutionally a 2 party system.

What I’m saying is that the the ‘powers that be’ have set up campaign financing legislation in the USA that make it nearly impossible for anyone but a GOP or Dem to afford to run for office by:

A. legislation that a third party candidate needs 5% popular support in the polls to get on the ballot

B. Almost unlimited campaign financing through PACs and through a supreme court ruling that says corporations are entitled to the same rights to free speech as individual citizens and that corporations are allowed to express their free speech in the form of campaign contributions. No other nation on earth has legislation anything like that.

C. Corporate control of the media. 5 corporations control the media in the USA and they are in lockstep with each other. If you aren’t a member of the dems or GOP good luck even being mentioned in the media and if you are mentioned it’s negative.

Just look at the way kanye West was treated this cycle. The only media attention he got was as a kook …. I still don’t know what platform he was running on.

“I also will remond You that at least 3 has runned for President in USA several times. I remeber a George Wallace.

I remember George Wallace and the American Independent Party as wells. They had a lot of support in the SE but they never had the money or support to mount a serious nation wide campaign.

Their 1968 campaign scared Nixon and the GOP …. you’ll notice that even through the party did well regionally in 1968 and survives to this day 1968 was the only year they were able to mount a credible campaign. The GOP made sure they never got the money or media coverage to threaten them again.

Marco Della Pelle


cechas vodobenikov

stupified people have a choice—coke or Pepsi “there is no functioning democracy in amerika, it is really just an oligarchy where political bribery determines the nominations and selection of all presidents, governors, senators, congressmembers”. Jimmy Carter Der speigle 2026 this is why u r a US colony

Jim Allen

US was never a democracy, it was a Republic. Today it is a tyrannical totalitarian dictatorship with an evil dictator that terrorizes his own people, and the biggest terrorist organization, and supporter of terrorism in the world. As well as the most hated country on earth.


You know very well that behind the American Presidents, Israel is hiding.

johnny rotten

The barbarians must always destroy civilized countries in order to claim that they are the civilized country, they are terrified of confrontation because they know that anyone is able to see reality and realize who is a civilized country and who is not.

Jens Holm

That goes both ways.

Jens Holm

Its very easy. Iran should talk of threats and nukes and be less abnormal


we will eradicate the zionists and america shall sink like the titanic how you like that reality heading to you


gather your jew club and try to stop us but you failed for decades so i doubt that you are good for anything you clowns are going to be eradicated

cechas vodobenikov

if u r the definition of “normal” I prefer to be insane—I suspect all civilized peoples will agree here

catalin zt

Bla bla bla the endless anglo-saxon PERVESITY

Jens Holm


Samuel Vanguard

US is the mafia of the world

Jens Holm

Even mafias has better strucutures and are more productive then Your kind.


structures? do you mean the collapsing structures or do you mean the structures which we will burn to nothingness or do you mean the childraping drug trafficking structures its hard to say you imbecile are just repeating a cheerleader nonsense but non of you will have the guts to stand there and fight while our missiles will turn your assets to dust

cechas vodobenikov

u mean the the ugliness in amerika? “nothing tells u more about a people than their architecture”. Jonathon Swift amerikan architecture described as “vaporized shoeboxes”. Paul Fussell, “barbarism” Alan Bloom, “a celebration of dictatorship” Norman Mailer “the absence of architecture in amerikan cities is a dazzling denial of culture” J Baudrilliard and u want to be a colony of US so u can send them cheese

Jim Allen

Nope. That distinction belongs to The City of London.


Iran will survive the pandemic (brought on to the world by the morons from washington dc) and come out stronger and continue the preparation to eliminate the jews in palestine for good. after all and taking into account the number of attacks and killings the jews have perpetrated against iran, in view of the continuous warmongering and other shenanigans aimed at Iran, Iran is right to aim its might to destroy the jews in palestine for good and also as revenge for the murder of soleimani which, needless to say, was set about by the jews in palestine, even if effectuated by the silly moron in the white house. the jews in palestine deserve to be finished for good, they’ve sort of earned it.

Proud Hindu

Good job destroy the shia bastards

cechas vodobenikov

despite US sanctions Iran is doing well—cultureless amerikans could only dream of creating a culture like Persia–renowned for architecture, art, film, brilliant poets, etc….amerikans trying to bring civilized people down to their own level

Potato Man

Iran working with Iraq – Weapons sell..etc etc “IRGC Eyes Naval Cooperation with Iraq.” https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2020/11/16/2390318/irgc-eyes-naval-cooperation-with-iraq

“Iran to Sign Military Cooperation Deal with Iraq: Top General.” https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2020/11/15/2389776/iran-to-sign-military-cooperation-deal-with-iraq-top-general

“Commanders Discuss Iran-Iraq Interaction in Helicopter Industry.” https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2020/11/15/2390050/commanders-discuss-iran-iraq-interaction-in-helicopter-industry

Jim Allen

“If Iran will return to strict compliance”…Iran is not out of compliance. “Enrichment” is subjective, Iran has enriched to what, 15% ? To be weapons grade 90% enrichment is required. Iran was free to to enrich to levels for civilian use. (power plants etc) At least a certain amount. Iran made 100% compliance with JCPOA, even after US pulled out with zero cause, execpt his Zionist Khazar masters directed him to. But, then they hate Iran, dragging that grudge around the world 1,500 years. Determined to destroy the country, and the people, failing every step of the way. The Cabal did succeed in slowing Iran’s economic progress, not enough to prevent it becoming highly industrialized, and a leader in all kind of technology. As well as a strong regional military power.

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