Up close and personal: New articles detail the impact of sanctions on everyday life

As the US sanctions against Iran steadily erode living standards for ordinary Iranians, threatening the health and futures of millions of people, some excellent new investigative reporting is shedding light on just how the sanctions wreak their havoc. Two new articles look at the disproportionate effects on women, the sick and the poor. “When I Ran Out of Birth Control in Iran“, by Narges Bajoghli, provides a close-up look at the crisis in women’s reproductive health. “The Effects of The Economic Sanctions Against Iran“, by Mina Khanlarzadeh, combines first-hand accounts of life under the current sanctions regime with a history and analysis of sanctions as a form of slow violence and collective punishment.

 

Havaar’s campaign against sanctions on Iran is gaining steam

A few weeks ago Havaar launched our campaign calling on major bank CEOs to allow financial transactions for purchases of medicine and medical supplies for Iranians.

We feel very encouraged and empowered by the responses we have received from some of the people who signed the petition:

Sanctions, “smart” or comprehensive, are a form of warfare and a blunt weapon of aggression on the most vulnerable citizens, including infants, children and the aged. When the Health Sector is endangered as in Iran today, loss of life results – demonstrating how Sanctions constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Sanctions do not destroy governments, they destroy the basic human rights of human beings.

Denis J. Halliday
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from 1 September 1997 until 1998.

Campaigners dedicated to ending economic sanctions against Iraq learned from Iraqi mothers and children about how lethally punitive economic sanctions could be.  The pediatrics wards of Iraqi hospitals were like death rows for infants.  Now, ordinary Iranians with minimal capacity to control their government are nevertheless being punished by economic sanctions which forbid them access to life saving medicines.  The Havaar campaign needs and deserves support from civil society around the world.

Kathy Kelly
Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end economic sanctions against Iraq.

The U.S.-imposed sanctions regime has inflicted great suffering upon the Iranian people.  As people of conscience, have to speak out and act decisively to end the sanctions and to ensure that Iranians have adequate access to life saving medicine and other necessities.

Azadeh Shahshahani
President, National Lawyers Guild.

We cannot condone the use of sanctions that are causing untold suffering to the Iranian people, as they deprive them of the most basic necessities in life, and are directed against a country that does not pose a danger to the United States. it is important then that we support the campaign HAVAAR is organizing.

Silvia Federici
Professor emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University, where she was a social science professor.

Other prominent signers include Anthony Alessandrini, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Arun Gupta, Chris Hedges, Zachary Lockman, David McReynolds, Molly Nolan, Vijay Prashad, Chris Toensing, Adaner Usmani and Julia Wrigley.

Sanctions as a Tool of War: A Comparative Look at Iraq and Iran

A Havaar forum hosted by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics.

The Graduate Center at the City University of New York
Skylight Room (Room 9100)
365 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10016

April 29, 7PM-9PM

Sanctions are still presented in mainstream political discussion as a peaceful alternative to military intervention. But the experience of Iraqis, whose society was devastated by over ten years of harsh economic sanctions, shows us that sanctions against countries that defy Washington are a form of collective punishment used to augment the effects of war and/or lay the groundwork for war. While sanctions against Iran have yet to reach the levels and effects experienced in Iraq, there is much to be learned by placing these two different cases in a common frame. How are sanctions used by the US as part of its efforts to dominate the Middle East? What are the effects they have on everyday life and on social movements? And how have activists attempted to organize transnational solidarity to oppose sanctions? This event will look at previous campaigns against sanctions in Iraq and help launch a new campaign against the medical shortages caused by sanctions against Iran.

Speakers:

Dr. Joy Gordon is a philosophy professor at Fairfield University, JD from Boston University School of Law, PhD from Yale. Published extensively on the UN sanctions on Iraq, including “Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions” (Harvard University Press 2010). Currently completing a book on the ethical aspects of economic sanctions. Recent work on the Iran sanctions includes “UN Sanctions on Iran: The Dance of Mutual Deniability

Denis J. Halliday worked for the UN for 34 years – first as junior officer in Iran (1964-66), and finally as UN Assistant Secretary-General 1994-98. He volunteered to be the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq in 1997 and remained in his post until 1998 when he resigned in protest of the sanctions.

Hadi Kahalzadeh served as an economist for Iran’s Social Security Organization from 2003 to 2011. He was a member of the Iranian Students Office for Consolidating Unity (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat), the only democratically elected student body across the country. After graduating, he joined the progressive political party, the Iranian Alumni Organization, which was a strong ally of student, women’s rights, and labor movements. In 2006, Hadi was elected as a member of board of directors of Iran Parties House (IPH). He currently serves as a visiting scholar at the department of political science at Valdosta State University in Georgia.

Bitta Mostofi currently is a nonprofit, immigrant rights attorney. She has also worked as a civil rights attorney and served on the board of directors of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Bitta has participated in anti-war and anti-sanctions campaigns, and was a co-coordinator for the Voices in the Wilderness; Iraq Peace Team from 2002-2003. In recent years Bitta has co-founded and worked with Where is my Vote, New York, which formed in the after math of the highly disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections. WIMV-NY strives to raise the level of international solidarity with the citizens of Iran in their movement towards social justice and democratic change and to speak out against the Iranian state’s human rights violations.

Sina is a founding member of Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression and an organizer with Havaar’s campaign to alleviate sanctions-related medical shortages in Iran.

Co-sponsored by Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression, Raha Iranian Feminist Collective, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and the War Resisters League.

Please RSVP to our event posting on Facebook and help us spread the word.

Sanctions; Silent War Performance Project Draws Attention to Harmful Effects of Sanctions in Iran

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December 20, 2012, New York—Yesterday Iranian artist Sanaz Sohrabi—with the co-sponsorship and help of Havaar and Sanctioned Life—brought a unique performance project to the streets of Manhattan.

Iranian civilians are increasingly feeling the effects of a strict U.S.-led sanctions regime that has severely curtailed economic activity in Iran (the economic mismanagement of the Iranian government is exacerbating the situation). One of the most devastating effects is a lack of access to crucial medicines. Patients suffering from cancer, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments which require drug regimens in order to be treated are finding those medicines increasingly unavailable, either due to shortages or to large price increases that make them unaffordable. The result has been significant suffering, including the recent death of Manouchehr Esmaili, a 15-year-old boy with hemophilia who passed away last month when his parents were unable to find the medicine he required.

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To communicate the severity of this situation, Sohrabi engaged in a performative art piece which involved filling thousands of transparent pill capsules with messages from actual Iranians describing how sanctions have had an impact on their health or the health of loved ones. These capsules were then spread out on the streets near the United Nations and also handed out to passersby who were encouraged to read the messages inside.

Said one Iranian whose words were placed inside the capsules: “I am a patient with a liver transplant. To sustain a liver transplant I need to use particular drugs. Unfortunately like all others I am having problems acquiring them.” There are far too many similar situations all over Iran.

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“My sister is a pharmacist in Iran and she used to tell me stories about the effect of sanctions on medicine availability and patients,” said Sohrabi. “When I moved to America, I felt that these stories were unknown and invisible to people here, so I decided to make them visible and be a messenger for those in Iran whose voices are not being heard.”

 Sohrabi and members of Havaar and Sanctioned Life are available to discuss the project and the sanctions situation in Iran.

Performance Art in front of UN by Sanaz Sohrabi: “Sanctions: Silent War”

برای وارد کردن روایتِ خود از چگونگی تأثیر تحریم‌ها روی سلامت خود یا عزیزان‌تان، لینک زیر را دنبال کنید

http://sanctionedlife.com/?portfolio=performance-art-by-sanaz-sohrabi

Sanaz Sohrabi:

Manouchehr Esmaili, a 15-year-old boy suffering from hemophilia died last month as a result of sanctions that limit the production and imports of medicine.* These restrictions prevented his family from accessing the necessary treatments for his condition. However, he is not the only victim of sanctions. There are 26,000 patients suffering from coagulation and complex disorders including hemophilia, thalassemia. There are many more patients who cannot afford or access their medicine anymore. Sanctions as the new silent war, have adverse impacts on the availability and price of medicines in Iran and the battlefield is the life of civilians; in particular children, women, chronically ill patients and the elderly. Imposing sanctions without ensuring a safety-net for at-risk civilians is comparable to attacking a hospital during wartime

In “Sanctions; Silent War”, I will fill 26,000 pill capsules with real-life stories of Iranian patients whose lives have been affected by sanctions. I place the capsules in a line on the ground, in front of the UN headquarter in Manhattan, NY.Then I will tape the string of capsules to my body and give them out to people passing by, asking them to open the capsule and read the message inside. The aim of “Sanctions; Silent War” is to deliver this message: that sanctions are holding the health of the Iranian people hostage, specially children, women, chronically ill patients, and the elderly

Sanctions are not an alternative to war, but they are war by other means. While western governments insist that sanctions only target the Iranian government and they are not directed at civilians, reality tells us a different story. The UN Security Council and western governments have to become aware of the damages caused by sanctions and facilitate the import of medicine to Iran, otherwise we will be witnessing catastrophic consequences of a silent war. One of the solutions is the issuance of a General License by western Administrations exempting medicine transactions

The broad, crippling and indiscriminate sanctions mean that humanitarian exemptions, which include medicine, do not stand up. Iranian people in general, and patients in particular, should not pay the price of conflicts between governments

I would like to invite all concerned New Yorkers and residents of cities around to join me on Tuesday December 18th at 11:00 am for this public performance art

In cooperation with
Havaar: Iranian Initiative against War, Sanctions and State Repression
http://www.facebook.com/havaarforjustice

Sanctioned Life
http://www.facebook.com/sanctionedlife

*”Haemophiliac Iranian boy ‘dies after sanctions disrupt medicine supplies”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/14/sanctions-stop-medicines-reaching-sick-iranians

Iranians and Allies Protest Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu, and Obama

During United Nations General Assembly Convening, Havaar Says That Each Government Acts Against the Interests of the Iranian People

 

September 25, 2012, New York —Today, on the occasion of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s final visit to the United Nations General Assembly, the New York-based group Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression was joined by allies to voice opposition to the Iranian government’s repression of the Iranian people and to call for an end to crippling sanctions and threats of war by the U.S. and Israeli governments.
 
Protesting outside Ahmadinejad’s Manhattan hotel, members of Havaar and their allies held giant posters bearing images of 24 Iranian political prisoners from all walks of life, including the young human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahahi, and labor leader Reza Shahabi, sentenced to four and six years respectively for their political activities. Havaar members said, “We protest Ahmadinejad and hold up photos of imprisoned Iranians in lieu of all those who can’t. It’s a basic act of solidarity with the disappeared and the broken, and with those who continue to demand accountability and justice at great risk to themselves.”

Simultaneously Havaar protested against the American and Israeli government’s policies of sanctions and threats of war.

“Our primary concern is the welfare of the Iranian people, and of people all over the world struggling against repression and violence, be it foreign or domestic,” said Havaar. “We condemn the violence of the Iranian government against fellow Iranians, just as we condemn the increasingly aggressive U.S. and Israeli policies of sanctions and threats of war. The sanctions imposed on the Iranian people are not an alternative to war, but wage war on the Iranian people by other means. They operate as collective punishment, and must end. We hope that people the world over will stand in solidarity with the Iranian people against all the violent forces that seek to obstruct their dreams for a free and just society. ”

“Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression” is a grassroots group of Iranians, Iranian-Americans and allies who have joined together to categorically oppose any military action and sanctions against Iran. Havaar stands in solidarity with the Iranian people’s struggle against war and sanctions and against state repression, asserting that all of these forms of violence hurt the lives and aspirations of ordinary Iranians. Visit havaar.org and http://www.facebook.com/HavaarForJustice.
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Havaar Protests Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu, Obama & Their Threats to Iranian People

NO TO WAR AGAINST IRAN!
NO TO SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN!
NO TO STATE REPRESSION BY THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT!

WHAT: Demonstration Against Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu, Obama & Their Threats to Iranian People
WHEN: Tuesday, September 25th @ 5pm-7:30 or 8pm
WHERE: At or near the Warwick Hotel (54th St. and 6th Ave.), New York City

Make sure to check back for updates before the demonstration on our Facebook event page!

The Iranian head of state, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will be attending the UN General Assembly in the last week of September. In 2009 Ahmadinejad retained his office through rigged presidential elections that were backed by severe repression of protest, and since that time he has repeatedly denied the existence of political prisoners and grave human rights violations in Iran.

Also present during the General Assembly will be U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama has escalated crippling sanctions against Iran that are already doing grave harm to the lives of average Iranians– and most of all to the poor and vulnerable–while continuing to threaten the possibility of military strikes that would have devastating consequences. Netanyahu has raised his war-mongering to a fever pitch in recent weeks. Netanyahu, Obama, and Ahmadinejad may have different and often conflicting agendas, but these leaders and their governments are all threats to Iranians and to peace in the region.

JOIN Havaar as we raise our voices in protest, in front of Ahmadinejad’s hotel, against the crimes of his government, including the lack of accountability for the torture and killing of dissidents, and the continued unjust detention of Iranian political prisoners — including union organizers, student activists, and advocates for the rights of all Iranians. Join us to simultaneously express opposition to US-led sanctions and American and Israeli threats of war against Iran.

We will voice our strong opposition to Ahmadinejad and the egregious crimes of his government, while doing everything we can to prevent our legitimate grievances from being exploited by political forces in the United States and abroad that seek to advance a belligerent agenda of war and sanctions against Iran. Such belligerent policies–whether advanced by Democrats or Republicans, by Israelis or EU member states, or by violent and deeply anti-democratic political formations like the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) –are unconscionable and do violence to the lives and aspirations of the Iranian people.

Note that this will be the last time that Ahmadinejad will be addressing the UN, so, let’s make sure we send him off properly!

JOIN US, whether you are an Iranian, Syrian, Palestinian, American, Egyptian, Pakistani, Honduran, Somali, Yemeni, Greek or Spaniard, join us wherever you are from, to stand with the people claiming the commons, and against the torturers and warmongers, wherever they are from! Justice is indivisible!

Join us! Spread the word !!

Visit Havaar’s website and join our announcement list to stay in touch with us: http://havaar.org/contact/

Email us at info@havaar.org with any questions.

https://www.facebook.com/HavaarForJustice

Preparing for the anti-Ahmadinejad, anti-sanction and anti-war demonstration on Tuesday! Join us on Sep 25th, 5 pm, in front of Warwick Hotel -- 65 West 54th Street, Manhattan, New York