US Warns Iran: Coronavirus Won’t Save You From Sanctions

Pompeo falsely denies humanitarian aid is restricted by US sanctions

US hostility toward Iran is such a deeply ingrained aspect of policy that any sign of doing something nice, like the reports earlier this week that Trump didn’t want to attack Iran outright during the coronavirus because he thought the world would be critical, is inevitably followed by a litany of hostile, and in some cases downright spiteful statements by the administration.

So with Iranians still dying from coronavirus at a high rate, officials insisted the suggestion of easing sanctions was quickly rejected, with the US adding that the coronavirus “won’t save you” from the sanctions, and that the US absolutely wouldn’t consider any relief.

US Special Envoy Brian Hook added that if Iran was having trouble they should’ve spent more on health care instead of billions on war. That’s probably not going to ring well domestically in the US, given how much more the US has been spending on war by comparison. In retrospect, major US cities are almost certainly wishing they had more health infrastructure and fewer wars.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo falsely claimed that the US sanctions don’t impact humanitarian aid for Iran. This is based on US laws technically including a waiver for humanitarian aid, so by design they aren’t under sanctions. In practice, however, banking sanctions make all trade, including aid shipments, much more difficult. On top of that, trying to buy things like medical equipment is also sanctions, and not considered humanitarian aid even though it would have a big impact on the health care systems.

With the US looking to use the virus to make public digs at the Iranians, Iran’s Deputy Health Minister also noted the trouble the US is also having with coronavirus, suggesting that Iran stands ready to help the US get its virus under control.

Iran was one of the first nations hit hard by the pandemic, and sanctions have made it difficult for them to get things under control. The US clearly has no interest in helping Iran keep things contained, but as the crisis in the US grows, sticking it to Iran may seem lower priority.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.