While the proximate cause of the tragic Iranian plane crash which killed 66 people is still being investigated, one thing is clear: a country whose ability to purchase modern aviation equipment is artificially restricted due to calculated international sanctions, can and should hold the authors of the sanctions responsible.
Iran is a naturally resource-rich country with a strong educational tradition, particularly in science and engineering. Iran’s educational excellence has only increased since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 as the revolutionary leadership put a strong emphasis on the education of both men and women in spite of their economic status in society.
Iran is not a poor country, but it could be an incredibly rich country. Iran’s ability to engage in international commerce has been artificially retarded due to sanctions from the US and its allies. These sanctions are not only an economic act of war, but like a hot war, they claim lives. In Syria for example, US authored sanctions have prevented the delivery of medicine and medical equipment to the country, even when charitable individuals and organisations have offered to send them to Syria free of charge.
In Iran, many domestic flights continue to use older planes even though Iran could buy new ones if there was a genuine free and fair international market place. There is no doubt that all of the innocent lives lost during the plane crash are on the hands of the United States and other nations who have participated in the sanctioning of Iran.
This is not just a crime against the Iranian state but it is a crime against the Iranian people – against civilians. Sanctioning a country can cause very real material damage to the lives of ordinary people and in spite of this being widely known, the US only continues to escalate its use of sanctions against countries that refuse to be bullied by the US government and powerful US and western financial institutions.
Just as treaties of international law have banned the use of chemical weapons and the torture of prisoners of war, so too must the United Nations now ban the use of all economic sanctions among countries who are not officially engaged in a state of war.
The US claims to pride itself on a market economy free of cumbersome regulations, but when it comes to the rest of the world, US sanctions represent the most autocrat control over the economies of foreign nations that has been known to modern history.
Iran has not declared war on the US or any other nation, nor is Iran currently at war with any state. Iran has done nothing to deserve the suffering of sanctions which are merely a soft version of the suffering that one experiences in a traditional war.
In 1988, the United States shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 souls on board, while the plane was in Iranian air space. Far from being punished, the men who shot the plane down were given medals of honour.
The United States downed a plane in 1988 with a missile and today, it has done the same only with sanctions. Both acts of aggression should be universally condemned by all responsible nations.