Not every sanction is good


by divaneh

Yesterday I made a comment about the harm that latest sanction that ban SWIFT transactions can do to Iran by starving Iranians of the food and medicine that they need and drew an analogy to Iraq who suffered such sanctions in the 90s and early years of the last decade. I was surprised that how some of us have believed the Western propaganda about what happened in Iraq and now wish the same on our own country. As this reply would be too long for a comment and as I do not wish to compete with MK and DK on leaving mile-long comments :-) , I decided to write this blog.

We should not let rage or revenge against the IRI blind us to the evil of some of these sanctions. It is unfortunate that West does not care for the people of the third world, and it is important for us to distinguish that the right that we enjoy as the citizens of our respective countries will not be extended to our fellow country people.

When I expressed my fear that Iranian children can perish like their Iraqi counterparts as the result of such sanctions, I was informed that I should not worry and that "any transaction that advances US interests" would be excluded from such restrictions. I am not an optimist and I don't equate US interests with food and medicine for Iranians. Unfortunately recent history seems to support my negative view. Here are some excerpts from the book "Hidden Agenda" by the respected journalist John Pilger that was first published in 1998, 5 years before the second Iraq war.


In 1995, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that the military devastation of Iraq, combined with the effect of the sanctions imposed by the Security Council (in reality by the American and British Governments) had been responsible for the death of more than 560,000 children in Iraq. The WHO confirmed this figure. Jean Lennock, a field worker reported this as the equivalent of the unnecessary death of a child every six minutes. 'At Ibn-al-Baladi hospital in Baghdad' she wrote, 'I witnessed the death of eight month old Ali Hassan from diarrhoea. His life could have been saved with simple antibiotics. I also witnessed the grief of his mother. Like many of us, she could not understand why her child had been punished for the actions of the Iraqi government".

Ramsey Clark reported to the Security Council that most of the death “are from the effect of malnutrition including marasmus and kwashiorker, wasting or emaciation which has reached 12% of all children, stunted growth which affects 28%, diarrhoea, dehydration from bad water or food, which is ordinarily easily controlled and cured, common communicable diseases preventable by vaccinations, and epidemic from deteriorating sanitary conditions. There are no deaths crueller than these. They are suffering slowly, helplessly, without simple remedial medication, without simple sedation to relieve pain, without mercy”

... In the meantime, the UN has sought to negotiate an oil-for-food arrangement, by which Iraq would be allowed to sell $1 billion’s worth of oil every three months on the world market. Half of this would go in war reparations to Kuwait and be allocated to Kurds in the “safe havens”; the other half would be food and medicine and basic spare parts for water and sewage treatment facilities. The American representatives on the UN Sanctions Committee have used every opportunity to obstruct the plan which now appears frozen in spite of having the approval of the Secretary-General.

... The US blames Saddam Hussein and Iraq for the effects [on the Iraqi people], most recently arguing that if Saddam stopped spending billions on his military machine and palaces for the elite, he could afford to feed his people. But only a fool would offer or believe such propaganda. If Iraq is spending billions on the military, then the sanctions obviously are not working. Malnutrition didn’t exist in Iraq before the sanctions.

... They [victims] become, wrote Mark Curits, unpeople: human beings who impede the pursuit of high policy and whose rights, often lives, therefore become irrelevant.


The siege of Iraq and many more victims who paid the price for the Western policies after the above notes were published, did not bring Iraq democracy. It ended in a devastating conflict, many more victims, a divided nation and a broken country. We must understand that not every sanction is there to help our people.

There are different sides involved in this dirty game of power and conflicts in Iran. On one side we have the US and the Europeans who would like to secure Iran’s wealth and resources for their own economies. On the other side, there are IRI, Russia and China who eye the same resources. Iranian people do not matter to either side and are treated as collateral. The sanctions are to weaken the other side without any concern for their effects on Iranians. We must take the side of the Iranian people and be their voice.

Not all sanctions are good and not all are bad. In my view any sanction that weakens the regime and strengthens the people is a good sanction.  Travel ban on members of the ruling Mafia, arms embargo and freezing of the regime assets abroad are examples of sanctions that weaken the regime without a huge adverse effect on people. I reluctantly support the oil embargo as the Iranian regime has left no other option for change in its dictatorial rule.  Oil embargo also weaken the regime and make it more dependent on people whilst making the wealth of more than 4 millions Iranian diaspora even more attractive for the regime, affording the people more opportunity to enforce change. On the other hand, sanctions such as restrictions on food and medicine supplies will weaken the people and strengthen a government that control such resources.

Whilst we wish to think that the induced hardship would cause the people to overthrow the ruling regime, it is more likely that it causes rivalry and competition between people for the scarce resources and for their immediate survival.


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more from divaneh

Divaneh Khan

by Fatollah on

bookmarked this piece for later read and as usual well written and balanced analysis! you brought up many important points, the human cost factor into the equation! i wish for the other crowd on this very site to read and comprehend! 

p/s i wonder what would the jailed/ and tortured  iranian human right activists say about the sanctions!? what would ordinary citizens in iran say? 



by Souri on

Thanks for having taken your time for writing this useful blog, and also taking the time to write to all the people who have commented.

Yes, you are right. I do agree with you that no group is less patriotic than the other, especially here at IC. This is what I have always said. We love our country, but let's not exagerate on showing patriotic sentiment by going through insult and accusation the opposing ideas.



I agree with Oktaby that we

by vildemose on

I agree with Oktaby that we would not have the power to stop war or sanctions but can at least try to influence their outcome to benefit Iranians. For that we need some level of acceptability from the world powers and that will only happen if we reach unity.  

 I couldn't agree moer with Oktaby. But how do we do that in diaspora?

 A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


Dear Friends

by divaneh on

Many thanks for reading, commenting and adding a wealth of information to this subject.

Dear Mehrban,

Thanks for the link. I think China (who is already gaggling for concessions) and India will eventually join the embargo under political and economical pressure. I hope it does not mean less Indian rice and cannot understand why Indian rice cannot be paid for by the oil money that they owe Iran.

Oktaby jaan, 

I agree with Oktaby that we would not have the power to stop war or sanctions but can at least try to influence their outcome to benefit Iranians. For that we need some level of acceptability from the world powers and that will only happen if we reach unity.  

Dear Mr Ala,

Thanks for the link to your article on the illegality of the US sanctions on the aircraft parts. Unfortunately it was Iran's illegal hostage taking that brought that upon us. It has however claimed many victims and I thank you for my own part for writing and bringing attention to that important issue.

Dear Souri,

It is heart breaking to see patients suffering in Iran already as the result of the sanctions. We need a voice that we currently don't have to protest against such measures.

With regards to other people, I do believe that everyone cares for Iran and we just naturally favour different strategies and tactics. Some of us are less patient and are agitated by what happening to the political prisoners as the society in large, and support harsh measures. Some think that we need to be more patient and give the first priority to the health and safety of the people. I don't think any group is less patriotic than the other.

Dear Yolanda,

Thank you for the link and the additional material. I think Khamenei is just making empty gestures. The 560,000 figure was quoted from a 1995 UN report and there was another 8 years of death and suffering before more killing in the 2003 invasion. To those figures we have to add the death and health issues arising from the Western bombardment of Iraq by depleted Uranium, to which Iraqis have been exposed since 2001.

Dear Soosan Khanoom,

As I have already said, all Iranians do care for Iran. I have never come across and Iranian who didn't. Some have lost hope in the people's ability to topple this cruel government and now see the war as the only viable option. Some positive development in Iran could change their mind.

Vildemose geraami,

Thanks for the additional information and the link to the Ms Alinejad's article. I am sure they will deny the existence of any problem to the very end.



Maish Alinejad: "Economic crisi in Iran"

by vildemose on

The governor of Iran's central bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, announced eight percent devaluation of the rial, from 11,300 to 12,260 to the dollar. Until 2010, the rial had been kept at a relatively stable 9,000 to the U.S. dollar for years. On the black market, where those without connection have to obtain Greenbacks, the rate had shot up to USD 23,000 last week. The collapse of the rial, and the additional economic sanctions placed on Iran by the international community has created such a frenzy among Iranians that out of fear of a famine, they have jammed supermarkets in order to stock pile the bare necessities.

The Islamic Republic's government-controlled media outlets publish and broadcast news reports favorable to the regime. The Iranians, for example, have had no or little information regarding the economic crisis and currency fluctuations. The Iranian government has gone so far as specifically prohibiting media outlets from publishing any news articles or broadcasting any information regarding the fiscal disaster. The secretariat of the National Security Assembly and the Office of the President say reporting on the current state of the country's economy is nothing more than mud-slinging and 'undermining national security.'

There are ways around the heavy hand of the censors. Some journalists are posting photos and publishing items on Facebook. Some of these photos clearly show the throngs of people at supermarkets and shops,


A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Mohammad Ala

Good points

by Mohammad Ala on

Souri jan; you raised good points.  Thanks.


dear Divaneh

by Souri on

You said:

 "I think most people here have the interests of Iranians in their mind,
only some of us put more faith in the West than it deserves."

I tended to agree with this in the past, but in the last few weeks, I have read some comments and arguments here, which made me to rethink about that.

A good example of that, is this same blog. As you may have noticed, none of the ardent advocators of tight sanction and war, showed up here. The reason why they don't participate in this blog, is obviously, because they don't want to aknowledge the truth! The truth is that the majority of the Iranians, are against the sanction.

These people, make  themsleves  busy with other stuff, always around the same topic of war. Even in those page of "Prisoner of the Day", they just go there to advocate war against Iran ! But , they didn't bother to come here.

If that is normal for you,  but to me , this says a lot about their true motivation.

Soosan Khanoom

Thank you dear divaneh

by Soosan Khanoom on

For being the voice of wisdom.  And that also includes all of you commentators with your heartfelt support regarding this blog.  

It shows that there is a hope after all and not everyone on this so called Iranian forum is into death and destruction of Iranians and Iran.   


Iranian of the Day

by Rastin on



'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory (courtesy of Bavafa)



by yolanda on

Thank you for your blog!

"We must take the side of the Iranian people and be their voice."


I posted this article a couple of days ago:


here is the highlights:

"In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time," Khamenei told worshippers in his televised speech.

"Sanctions will not have any impact on our determination to continue our nuclear course," he said............

"Prices are going up every day, life is expensive. I buy chicken or meat once per month. I used to buy it twice per week," said vegetable seller Hasan Sharafi, 43, father of four, in the central city of Isfahan.

"Sometimes I want to kill myself. I feel desperate. I do not earn enough to feed my children."


Khamenei has made up his mind to continue the nuclear course, so he does not really care about the suffering of average Iranians caused by the sanctions! His attitude reminds me of Khomeini's stubborness and refusal to accept early cease-fire during the I/I war! Khamenei and Khomeini are the same species! Both of them can't smile and are heartless!

Sanctions are very tricky! It is not easy to have 'surgical sanctions" which only hurt IRI regime, but do not hurt Iranian people!

Currently the sanctions are hurting Iranian people and the sanctions have not made IRI scrap its nuclear program! Not yet!

I hope history will not repeat itself! I hope Iranian children will never have the same fate as the 560,000 Iraqi children.

Ari Siletz

Principle based thinking

by Ari Siletz on

Thanks, Divaneh.

Multiple Personality Disorder

Excellent and thoughtful blog

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Thank you for posting.


People are suffering already

by Souri on

All the medication which contain a little amount of Uranium (or its derivatives) are banned by the santion. People who need treatment, for example for Thyroid, or some other problems which I don't know for now, can't get treatment. Any medical test which needs some amount of subtences which are sanctioned by the West, are stopped. Who will suffer from this, you think? The price of everything will goes up, inside of the country, in the name of sanction. The IRI people, will get the poor people's money and send it out to the West, on their account. They have always a way to do it, don't worry. It is not the IRI who will suffer from this sanction, it is the poorest layers of the nation, as you will see in the near future.

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

This tu Bemiri

Is none of those other tu bemiri.

tu khod khan hadith az een majmaa.


Mohammad Ala

Against sanctions

by Mohammad Ala on

It has taken many years for IC members to understand what you have written.  Those who were for sanctions now they are against them?  Nice, very nice. 

Many sanctions not only are illegal they hurt our defenseless citizens.




by oktaby on

reasoning divaneh. I wish logic and sanity could solve the Iranian people's dilemma. As the saying goes...Yeki migeh bekhar, yeki migeh nakhar; man moondam vasate do ta khar.

Crunch times call for tough decisions. Our best chance at bringing this regime down was blundered by Mousavi et al in 2009 and I'm afraid that was all the immunization IRR needed. I can hardly foresee any peaceful resolution (internal or external) to/with this regime not resulting in long term bondage of Iranian peoples and marginalization of its culture (or what is left of it).

Even with the 'smartest' of sanctions the greater inner circle will be protected and North Korea scenario can materialize even faster.

I would rephrase "we must understand that not every sanction is there to help our people" to: There is no sanction that is good for our people. Simply because the intent of sanctions is getting concessions from IRR, not to help Iranian people as you also point out. War would be the next step if regional objectives cannot be reached by sanctions, and an Iraq like scenario will ensue via Syria. Russia and China can both be bought off when the time comes and appropriate trades made.

The question is not weather we want or support war, War was imposed on Iran 33 years ago with a 1-2 foreign-domestic punch. It is just morphing to next phase. The question is: can we form a coalition of opposition to deliberately influence the outcome of sanctions or war, internal or external, before we end up having no say at all.



Excellent blog Divaneh jaan...

by Bavafa on

And if I may just post my comment in that blog here again

An airtight sanction on IRI officials? ..

YES and I support it fully.

Any sanction that effect ordinary Iranian people?


Any sanction that is design as precursor to war?

 Absolutely NO

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 



Very good blog

by Mehrban on

I was reading an article about how without China and India it would be difficult to put an effective oil embargo on the IR.  China according to the article is the biggest importer of Iranian oil.  EU for example was a very small (in comparison) buyer of Iranian oil.  

here is the link to the article.


Strategic and tactical targeted sanctions may make sense but depriving the citizens from food and medication is criminal.  


M. Saadat Noury

Divaneh-e Farzaneh

by M. Saadat Noury on

You got a scientific and a very logical reasoning on the subject. Thanks for your patriotic blog.


Faramarz Jaan

by divaneh on

I agree with you that Iranian people are not Obama's responsibility and do not weight much in his decisions. That is why I am against those decisions that hurt Iranian people without making it any easier for them to topple the regime. I also think that the threat of Iran is over-exenterated. IRI does what it does because of its fear and not the vice versa. I hope Iranian people can finish this regime before things get any dirtier. Good night.


Divaneh Jaan

by Faramarz on

Obama's first and foremost responsibility is to the 300 million Americans, and then to the US allies and her interests, and not to the 75 million Iranians. The sanctions are designed to weaken the Regime and reduce and eliminate its threats to the Region.

Now if it turns out that by weakening the Regime he can enable the Iranians to topple it. Then great! If not, then the US has to re-group and figure something else out.


Dear All-Iranians

by divaneh on

Thanks for reading and your encouraging support.


Dear Faramarz

by divaneh on

I share the same aspirations as you but I don't think this sanction would help Iranian to get rid of the ruling dictatorship. On the contrary I think it weakens the people and plays in the hand of the government. This regime is on its last leg and has suffered too many divisions within itself, whilst it faces a broad opposition from people. We can now see that calls for demonstrations are heard again such as the one on 25th Bahman. Our people have brought down dictatorships in the past and can do it again.

As I have stated, I reluctantly agree with oil embargo because I think Iran can look after itself without oil. Unfortunately our plundered oil has only financed the suppression of people. What I am against is sanctions that stop the country form purchasing its basic necessities.

Finally I agree with you that it is an extension of the hostage taking, but I don't think we should kill the hostages to arrest the hostage takers.



 Regime is getting ready

by vildemose on

 Regime is getting ready for uprising:


 A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


Jenab Divaneh, Thanks

by All-Iranians on

For this excellent blog, which is right from A to Z.


Dear Divaneh

by Faramarz on


The situation with sanctions is the continuation of the hostage drama, where the Regime is saying, “buy the oil, give me the money or the Iranians will starve”. And if you give them the money, it will end up in the hands of Sepah and Basij to ensure the survivability of the Regime and the continuation of the threats to the Region. So how do you get food and medicine into the country, but not give them the money?

Well, I argued yesterday, and I will argue today that the sanctions have provisions to allow waivers for 120 days that can be extended, and also the Treasury Department allows for exporters of goods to Iran to get licenses to do so (Kirk-Menedez Amendment to HR-1540). I don’t believe that Obama wants to starve Iranians. He wants to empower the Iranians to get rid of the Regime.

Now, at some point this Regime that claims it represents the majority of Iranians should step up and take care of the majority of the Iranians. If we are saying that the responsibility should be forfeited to the west, then let’s talk about how we can accomplish that.

Western nations have every right not to buy the Iranian oil, not sell their goods to the Regime and cut off the Regime from the international financial system. Unfortunately, the Iranian people are stuck in the middle, the same way that the Syrians who are being massacred are.


شراب قرمز گرامی


با سپاس از این مهر دائم شما، بنده مخلص بزرگ منشی و لطف شما هستم که نمونه ای برای همگان است.

بندۀ پیر خراباتم که لطفش دائم است

ور نه لطف شیخ و زاهد گاه هست و گاه نیست 


Dear Friends

by divaneh on

Thanks for reading and your feedback.

Dear Souri,

I think most people here have the interests of Iranians in their mind, only some of us put more faith in the West than it deserves.

MM Aziz,

I also heard that news and was saddened by it. We already have many hungry people in Iran after years of draught and now this would make it even worse. Unfortunately as you announced, it may be just the start of it.

Dear Vildemose,

I wish Khamenei would heed your advice. He is deep in his own self-deceit, but I hope other people with a degree of influence in Iran, would come to their senses and prevent this disaster.

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

کاش تمامیِ دیوانگان،مَجنونین و رَوان پریشانان شبیهِ همین حضرتِ دیوانه خودمان باشند،هم شیرین سخن .. هم نکته سنج،منطقِ عمیق و اَدب عمیق‌تر تا به آخر...خوش صِفت و خوش رفتار،تا دلَت بخواهد با مَرام.

اِلهی که در زمستان خانهٔ تان گرم و در تابستان خنک باشد،همسرَت خوش رفتار و بچه‌هایت فرمانبُردار باشند.

عزّت زیاد .


Dear Mash Ghasem

by divaneh on

Thanks for your comment and the link to a valuable article. I read part of that informative article and will read the rest later. I hope we can all voice our opposition to punitive sanctions that can devastate our nation.