U.S. sanctions on Iran are an act of war
The UN Charter empowers the UN Security Council as the only organ able to take any enforcement measures in response to the use of force, threat of force or an act of agression. The UN Charter does not provide any possibility for application of unilateral sanctions for the same or other purposes. The authorization of the UN Security Council is necessary, as it is re-affirmed in art. 53 of the Charter as regards the functioning of regional organizations. Therefore, no "common good" provided for in the UN Charter can be used as a ground for introduction of unilateral sanctions by states or regional organizations.
“The illegal nature of unilateral coercive measures has been repeatedly affirmed in numerous resolutions of the Human Rights Council and General Assembly. Both the Council and the Assembly have also affirmed that people should not be deprived of their own means of subsistence, especially as concerns food and medicine, and that the extraterritorial application of law, affecting international humanitarian and human rights law, is inadmissible.” Said the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.
On Thursday October 8, the Trump administration imposed a new round of economic sanctions against Iran’s financial sector, as Washington seeks to increase pressure on Tehran in the weeks leading up to the presidential election. The measure imposes penalties against 18 Iranian banks and comes days before a United Nations arms embargo on the country is set to expire. The action could effectively lock Iran out of the global financial system.
“These are essentially unilateral financial sanctions cutting off Iranian banks from the international banking system. The U.S. is telling U.S. banks that they can have no dealings with Iranian banks. But as with other sanctions the U.S. will impose secondary sanctions, or what is sometimes referred to as the concept of extraterritoriality, on banks from other countries doing business with Iran. The U.S. tells them that they must also cut all relations or they will face fines and be barred access to the U.S. market. So if an Iranian bank wants to open a letter of credit to import medicine and food it cannot do so unless other countries are willing to stand up to the U.S. and say if you go down this road we will have to retaliate with our own sanctions, something that the Europeans and others have been reluctant to do.” Said Professor Hossein Askari, who teaches international business at the George Washington University.
“Iran will face shortages of food and medicine. Payments in cash will have to replace bank letters of credit. Smuggling will be the best business. And average Iranians will suffer from this inhumane and cruel policy, which is in my opinion impossible to justify.” He continued. “Let me say that the U.S. sanctions on Iran are an act of war. The impact on Iran is as if America was fighting a war but without bombs and bullets. Iran’s economy is being destroyed. There are shortages. Iranians lack some of the essentials of life. Patients are dying in hospitals because of a shortage of supplies. These are the fallouts of war.”
Professor Askari believes that Trump is losing badly in the polls and he needs to change the discussion. He wants to show that he is tough on Iran. As important is the fact that he is doing what Israel and the (P) GCC want, namely, to weaken Iran and to overthrow the regime.
“Inevitably it will be more difficult for Iran to access certain medicines and medical equipment even if, technically, such humanitarian goods are generally exempted from sanctions,” said Dane Rowlands, a professor of Carleton University. “One of President Trump's primary policy objectives is to reverse everything his predecessor did in both foreign and domestic policy, regardless of what the issue is. Since President Obama negotiated the JCPOA with the other various signatories, President Trump wished to withdraw. President Trump's administration has often included foreign policy hardliners, especially against Iran. So, Iran is a cheap and easy way for the current administration to shore up electoral support and support from allies in the region (Israel and Saudi Arabia).” He said.
“These sanctions are messaging sanctions,” said Daniel Fried, who was the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy in the Obama administration. “The messaging seems less to Iran and more to the American electorate.”
In 2003, when an earthquake killed thousands in the Iranian city of Bam, President George W. Bush set aside years of animosity and sent an airlift of rescuers and medical supplies. He said “It’s right to take care of people when they hurt.” This fall, as the Covid-19 death toll continues to climb in Iran — the hardest-hit country in the Middle East — the Trump administration has shown little mercy. The U.S. government has voiced its opposition to Iran’s request, still unfulfilled, for a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. As Iran surpasses half a million cases and more than 27,000 deaths, the administration is adding new sanctions on a country that was already struggling to buy essential medicines. Under the Trump administration, being Iranian is crime enough.