18 August 2012

Quakes and the human cost of sanctions

Naj and Parisa Saranj have blogged recently about the victims of the latest earthquake in Northwestern Iran. The quakes themselves are an immense tragedy: between them over 300 dead and over 5,000 injured. They deserve our prayers and our aid. But the response to them on all sides has exacerbated the tragedy. The sanctions make it extremely difficult for personal monetary charity from the United States to reach Iranian families in need, as both Ms Naj and Ms Saranj had the ill fortune of finding for themselves (and although the US Treasury department officially claims that humanitarian aid is exempt from the sanctions). The governments of the United States and Israel have both officially offered extensions of aid, but these apparently come with strings attached, and the Iranian government has not been well-disposed to accept either offer (though they later changed their minds). Not only that, but the official Iranian news outlets have been downplaying the earthquake in favour of more stories from Syria, and the slow relief response from the government has also drawn criticism (even though the relief response is dependent on money that simply isn’t there because of sanctions).

And the people of Iran suffer most.

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