From tasnimnews.com: ‘TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a message to the people of the United States of America on Friday, saying the time has come for the American nation to end the “dark chapter” of Washington’s sanctions in the US history to contribute to the global battle with the coronavirus, March 21, 2020 (creative commons)
‘Following is the full text of the Iran president’s message to American people released by his official website on Friday, March 20:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate the Merciful
On behalf of the great Iranian nation, I write to the people of the United States of America on the occasion of the Iranian New Year (Nowruz). The coronavirus outbreak has endangered the health of—and even presented a considerable threat to—humanity with no distinction as to nationality, or gender or religious backgrounds. This presents an opportune moment to further contemplate our common pains and our human principles.
Today, all of humankind feels apprehensive toward the future; a future threatened in every aspect; be it health, business, and even social relationships and the way of life. The level of unpredictability and uncertainty is simply unprecedented. It is self-evident that our success in what is likely to be a long fight depends on the spiritual and heartfelt affinity of all human beings. The international defense that we have to mount will not be successful without camaraderie on the part of the whole of humankind. Today, instead of soldiers belonging to different armies, human soldiers, donning similar unicolor uniforms belonging to no particular country, are selflessly and altruistically at war against the enemy of humans across the globe. In this common fight, we all belong to one front. We all seek to prevail over our common enemy: a deadly virus. With this enemy, in contrast to other issues, we have no difference of views, and we do not diverge on its nature, its definition and its destructive consequences for the whole of humanity.
Historically, the Government of the United States, regrettably, once chose to assist what is worse than a virus—the regime of Saddam Hussein—at a time when the Iranian people were attacked, and Iranian (even Iraqi) women, men and children were not spared by that butcher. Although with the passage of time the US Government noted its errors, it drew no lesson from them. As Daesh (ISIS), the terrorist group, wreaked havoc in the Middle East through its criminal deeds and extremist dogmas, the current US Government handed this terrorist group a victory by assassinating the man who most effectively brought about its destruction.
Today, the Iranian people are harmed by both the deadly coronavirus and the callous US government policy of economic terrorism inflicted on them. Yet, even under the circumstances of the pandemic, the US government has failed to abandon its malicious policy of maximum pressure; and is thus in practice aiding the spread of this virus with its sanctions.
Following its illegal withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US Government has implemented more than one hundred collective punishment measures against the Iranian people, specifically targeting Iran’s principal economic and financial sectors, and inflicting damages amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran’s economy and the Iranian people. The sanctions imposed by the US Government have resulted in many ordinary Iranians losing their jobs and incomes. It has also endangered their health and wellbeing. The sanctions have drastically undermined the ability of the Iranian people to fight the coronavirus and some among them are losing their lives as a result.
People of the United States,
You, like others in the world, are facing this destructive pandemic and experiencing the bitterness of a concern over your future and that of your loved ones. This time, the surrounding oceans of a continent are not an adequate defense. We know the war on this virus can only be successful if all nations can win this war together, and no affected nation is left behind. This is the other side of globalization coin; a signal that happiness and calamity are both globalized. As Sa’adi, our national poet, recited centuries ago, “Adam’s children are limbs of one body,” an injured limb makes the whole body ill. Thus, no border and no wall can shield any nation from the harm of this or any other virus.
I warn that under a pandemic situation, Tehran, Paris, London and Washington are not far apart, and any hostile actor seeking to undermine Iran’s health system and restricting the needed financial resources to tackle the crisis, will undermine the fight against the pandemic all over the world. COVID-19 is a matter of life and death, in the true meaning of the term for all nations, and countering it is the global duty of all.
The Iranian people have endured throughout history. Throughout millennia, Iranians prevailed against warmongers, from Genghis to Saddam, and withstood natural disasters, from pestilence to cholera, resiliently safeguarding their culture and civilization. This time, too, they will repel this virus as well as the sanctions born of the callous policy of maximum pressure, and will endure once again with resilience and pride.
But can the American people accept that these malicious pressures are brought to bear on the Iranian people in their name, as a result of their vote, and by the means of their taxes? The imperative of countering the new coronavirus has suspended sporting events, public ceremonies, religious congregations, and forced the closing of schools, universities, houses of worship and businesses across the globe. Isn’t it astonishing that even under such circumstances, there is no halt to pressure, sanctions and callousness? Are we to believe the claim of a readiness for humanitarian assistance from those who so brazenly violate human rights?
On this March 20th, the Iranian people, along with peoples from 12 other countries, celebrate the Iranian Nowruz (new day and new time), and the beginning of the spring. We should take this as an opportunity to adopt a new humanitarian approach toward fellow human beings.
People of the United States,
In the name of justice and humanity, I address your conscience and Godly souls, and call upon you to make your Administration and Congress see that the path of sanctions and pressure has never been successful and will never be so in the future. It is human discourse and action that produce results.
Regrettably, the fallacious framing of the situation in the region and deceptive lobbying of Iran’s regional enemies have impeded the way toward reforming the destabilizing and interventionist policies of the American government in the world, and in the Middle East in particular. Despite winning the election on the promise of withdrawing from the Middle East and returning American soldiers to their homes, the failure to fulfill this mandate and efforts to reach into the pockets of the American people to finance an unprecedented campaign of intervention in the region are manifest. This disastrous approach has resulted in the US engaging in enmity with the country most central to defeating Daesh.
Regrettably, the most aggressive and reactionary enemies of democracy and human rights in the world, who have occupied the lands of others, or have deprived their own peoples of even one free election, have become advisers to the US government and are imposing their own interests upon the American people. Currently, a congruence of virus and sanctions has become the hallmark of their policy towards Iran. The victims of the virus and the sanctions are ordinary Iranians from all walks of life and not the political elite.
The time has come for the American people to speak loudly and hold their government accountable, thus halting this dark chapter in American history. A return to international law and the principles of human rights will be in the interest of the American people and all nations throughout the world. Future generations will judge the American people based on the actions of their government, and the malicious behavior displayed thus far before the peoples of the world bodes poorly in that regard.
As the negotiations that resulted in the nuclear deal proved, we in Iran have always been ready for dialogue and have never feared it. In our view, it is a legal, moral and international imperative for every party to comply with its obligations. We have demonstrated our fidelity to our commitments and rejected the noncompliance demonstrated by other parties. The Iranian people value friendship and respect based on the principles of dignity and humanity and respond positively to overtures based on such values. Simultaneously, they are ready to resist pressure and threats, as they have heroically throughout history. We are a glorious and proud people with millennia of civilization. We react to the language of force with the language of resistance and to the language of dignity with the language of respect.
I wish a happy spring and New Year to all Americans, and especially those of Iranian descent.’
On the right sidebar is:
‘Zarif Invites World to Join Campaign to Defy US Sanctions on Iran; TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on world countries to join a global campaign to disregard the US sanctions against Iran’, March 17, 2020
“In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Zarif said the unlawful US sanctions have drained Iran’s economic resources and impaired its ability to fight COVID-19.
“They (US sanctions) literally kill innocents,” he added.
“It is immoral to observe them: doing so has never saved anyone from future US wrath,” the Iranian foreign minister stated.
He asked other countries to “join the growing global campaign to disregard US sanctions on Iran.”
Last week, Zarif sent a letter to Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, denouncing the US’ sanctions as a major obstacle to the Islamic Republic’s fight against the coronavirus and urging that such unilateral and illegal sanctions should end.
Zarif emphasized in the letter that despite Iran’s scientific capabilities and the commitment that the country’s health system has shown to the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the US’ sanctions on legal trade and the preconditions that the United States’ authorities have set recently in order to prevent the sale of medicine, medical equipment and humanitarian supplies have posed serious obstacles to the efforts to battle against the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran.’
Updated March 30:
Outtakes from ‘Top U.S. general resists Trump administration’s efforts to provoke war with Iran’, mondoweiss.net, march 28
“Most of the world is concentrating on fighting the coronavirus pandemic. But a small group of powerful men are taking advantage of the huge distraction to try and instigate Iran into a war, apparently hoping against all logic that a conflict will prompt regime change there that will neutralize Teheran’s influence in the Mideast. This warmongering group includes Pompeo; Robert O’Brien, the U.S. national security adviser; some top Israelis, including Benjamin Netanyahu; elements of the Israel lobby inside the U.S., and Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Lt. Gen. White’s memo, which was leaked to the Times, warned that the proposed campaign in Iraq against Iranian-allied militias would “require that thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from what has been the primary American military mission there: training Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic state.”
The Pompeo/Netanyahu/Saudi target is the Kataib Hezbollah militia, which has attacked U.S. forces in Iraq, including after the Trump administration assassinated the senior Iranian general, Qassim Soleimani, in January. Pompeo et al dismiss Kataib Hezbollah as Iran’s “proxies,” although genuine experts argue that the group emerged because of the reality in Iraq, including the U.S. occupation, now entering its 17th year, and can act on its own.
Today’s Times report did not go far enough. Pompeo and his allies are not merely targeting a militia in Iraq, (and unnecessarily jeopardizing the 5000 U.S. troops still stationed there). They have a much larger aim — to provoke Iran into a response, which they hope escalates into a broader war. Plenty of critics have noted that aim, but the paper couldn’t find any of them to interview.“