• 2020-03-23

    Amid the crisis, on March 17, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions against Iran, telling reporters, “We have an open humanitarian channel to facilitate legitimate transactions even while ensuring our maximum pressure campaign denies terrorists money.” But that assessment of the humanitarian channel isn’t widely shared and, despite Pompeo’s repeated assertions that the Trump administration offered Iran help to deal with the coronavirus crisis, he hasn’t provided details of what those offers entail. “Our research showed that in practice, humanitarian exemptions in the U.S. comprehensive sanctions regime have been ineffective in offsetting the strong reluctance of companies and banks to conduct trade with Iran, including the humanitarian trade that is presumably legal,” Human Rights Watch Iran researcher Tara Sepheri Far told Responsible Statecraft. “The Iranian healthcare system, both in terms of access to specialized medicine and also with regards to access to medical equipment, has taken a toll as a result of sanctions,” she added.

  • 2020-03-20

    Donald Trump's government decided to reinforce the criminal sanctions that the United States has maintained and intensified against Iran for decades. The US peace movement has already denounced the perversity of such a measure, especially considering that Iran is one of the countries most affected by the global coronavirus outbreak, with more than 17,000 confirmed cases of contamination and more than 1,000 deaths registered thus far, while there is still a lack of vital medicines and medical equipment for the Iranian people to face the pandemic. It is therefore outrageous and we repudiate in the most vehement terms Trump's criminal decision to step up on sanctions, at a time when nations should be cooperating to overcome this pandemic and create solutions to protect their peoples and humanity against this humanitarian calamity.

  • 2020-03-20

    In light of the increasingly dire situation in Iran as the country combats the COVID-19 pandemic, NIAC Action and 25 other organizations – including J Street, Truman National Security Project, MoveOn, Win Without War and Ploughshares Fund – in calling on President Trump, Sec. Mnuchin, and Sec. Pompeo to loosen the administration's crippling sanctions regime on Iran for 120 days in order to aid the Iranian people’s fight against the virus. The combined groups, representing millions of Americans, signals a strong desire for the administration to reevaluate their Iran policy in the wake of the pandemic. NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi released the following statement accompanying the letter: “The Trump administration's current unwillingness to significantly ease sanctions on Iran during this time of crisis is like rubbing salt into a gaping wound. With hospitals overrun and Iranian doctors struggling to procure necessary equipment, the U.S. must be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  “As COVID-19 rips through country after country, Iran’s experience has been particularly devastating. While advanced medical systems across Western Europe seem to be collapsing under the weight of patients infected with the virus, Iranians have had to contend with both their own government’s negligence and crushing sanctions that slow the response and punish ordinary Iranians. “Humanitarian assistance shouldn’t come with strings attached, and we are all at risk from the pandemic regardless of nationality. We call on the administration to ease its sanctions policy so that all resources are available to fight the pandemic in this dark hour for the Iranian people.”

  • 2020-03-14

    The World Health Organization's Emergency Director for the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Richard Brennan, said that Iran's strategies are on the right path to contain coronavirus epidemic. Speaking on the sidelines of visiting the WHO delegation and the COVID-19 pandemic public health experts' visit to Iran, he said that a comprehensive and coordinated approach is currently being implemented in Iran, especially in the areas of patient management, laboratories, and risk communication. [...]  The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions. The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO. The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.

  • 2020-03-13

    The current pandemic could provide an opportunity for President Trump to make a humanitarian gesture towards Iran. He should ease sanctions to allow aid and medical supplies to get into Iran in order to help contain the epicenter of the disease in the Middle East and slow one of the largest outbreaks of this deadly virus. This may open the door for future dialogue that could finally get Tehran and Washington out of this impasse.


  • 2020-01-30

    When President Donald Trump walked away from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed sanctions against the country, the intricate landscape of global trade embargoes became even more complex for multinational companies. Not only did international businesses have to contend with the resumption of US sanctions, they also had to navigate EU rules that can make it illegal to comply with the American measures, leaving them caught in the geopolitical crossfire. Yet the legal labyrinth in which multinationals find themselves is likely to grow more challenging still as other governments follow the US’s enthusiastic use of sanctions.

  • 2020-01-29

    Last week, an official from Iran’s communications ministry received an email from a Chinese supplier informing them that Bank of Kunlun, the state-owned bank at the heart of China-Iran bilateral trade, is weighing whether to cease processing Iran-related payments.

  • 2020-01-16

    The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in October of last year that American sanctions illegally targeted humanitarian trade by making it “‘difficult if not impossible for Iran, Iranian nationals, and companies to engage in international financial transactions to purchase such goods.” The court ordered that the United States remove any impediments to the free exportation of medicines and medical devices. The United States, however, rejected the ruling, withdrew from the optional protocol of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and terminated its 1955 Treaty of Amenity with Iran. No longer bound by the ICJ, the Trump administration has continued a policy of harsh sanctions. As a result, lifesaving medicine in Iran has become expensive and scarce. From March 2018 to March 2019, the cost of health and medical services in Iran has risen by nineteen percent. The Iranian government has repeatedly labeled American policy as “economic terrorism.” 

  • 2019-10-28

    [...] Below are key dates related to the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran, a description of the U.S. sanctions that took effect on each date, and efforts to blunt the impact of these sanctions by European parties to the agreement.  [...]

  • 2019-10-25

    List of the Iran sanctions compiled by the U.S. Department of the Treasury