In this regard, some countries close to the regime, have called for an end to sanctions during the fight against the coronavirus. But do sanctions really prevent people from meeting the needs of the crisis? What is the US policy toward the regime’s efforts to lift sanctions? The continuation or lifting of the sanctions, which of them would benefit the Iranian people?
Are the sanctions really preventing aid to the Iranian people to fight the coronavirus?
The reality is that at no time, neither now nor in the past, have international sanctions prevented the provision of the most basic medical care to the Iranian people for several reasons:
First, none of the medicines and medical equipment have been sanctioned, neither by the United States nor through international sanctions.
Secondly, as far as the regime is concerned, the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani said that they have no problem in this regard. Rouhani said in the cabinet meeting that: “Conditions for providing foreign exchange and the first priority for the health sector, pharmaceutical and medical needs, and in the second part for basic goods, we will not have a problem until the end of 2020.”
At the same cabinet meeting Saeed Namaki, the regime’s Minister of Health, said: “there is 12 trillion tomans equivalent to 2,850 billion dollars”, which Rouhani said that we are waiting for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to approve and to get it running.
So, the regime has never had a problem with money. Everyone knows that a lot of the medical equipment that has been imported to Iran by the international community is in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and has been hoarded. They sell it at the times the real prices in the black market.
If the regime has a problem with money, the money of the Astan Quds Razavi Foundation, the money of the Martyrs Foundation, the money of Basij Cooperative Foundation, the money of Revolutionary Guards Cooperative Foundation, etc., which is the money of the Iranian people why are they not running all of this wealth at the benefits of Iran’s people.
If they had any problem with money why the Guardian Council urged the regime’s parliament with the high priority plan to donate 200 million euros to the Quds Force to rebuild it, but not using such money for the basic medical needs of the Iranian people.
As the regime’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani in this regard said: “With this action, the parliament explicitly stated that all the perpetrators of this crime are considered terrorists, and since their goal was to strike at the resistance and they thought that they could assassinate Soleimani, who was an important pillar in the resistance, they could hurt the voice of the resistance. The parliament approved that 200 million euros be allocated to the IRGC’s Quds Force for this year alone.”
Therefore, this is blatant lying. And it’s an atmosphere, and the regime is just looking to get money because it wants to help the Hezbollah and its other proxy groups.
Another example is the confession of the head of the Mostazafan Foundation who clearly said that when he was the director of the IRGC Cooperative Foundation, Qassem Soleimani, went to him to pay the salaries of the Liwa Fatemiyoun (the Afghan part of the Quds Force) in Syria and asked for help.
“I was at the IRGC Cooperative Foundation. Qassem came and told me that I did not have the money to pay the Fatemiyoun, help in Syria. In other words, the situation reaches a point where Qassem Soleimani cannot pay his army’s salary. He said they were our Afghan brothers and asked for help by people like us.”
The regime’s support of terrorism is so shocking that the Spokesperson for the United States Department of State Morgan Ortagus while wondering about Khamenei’s tweet in support of the regime’s Quds Force tweeted:
Quite astonishing. @khamenei_ir promotes “Warriors Without Borders” (aka IRGC) who spread terror around the region, just after kicking out Doctors Without Borders, who were trying to help Iranians suffering from #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/scXsNhCovz
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 6, 2020
One of the other shocking aspects is at the time while the whole country is suffering from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran and the lack of primitive preventing properties, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi confessed on 5 April that, “Improving quality and increasing quantity” of the atomic research activities is continuing and said, ‘Using new centrifuges, increasing old working machines, improving the design and optimizing the Arak reactor’ are some of the programs that are underway.
That’s the reality of this regime and where they will spend the money not at the interest and the benefits of the people, while for its own benefits to save its sovereignty. These were just a few examples and facts, and if someone search on the news around this regime will face many more facts that are realizing this reality that this regime needs not the money, getting by the lifting the sanctions.
Here are just a few of the facts the US Department of State stated in a fact sheet on this subject on 6 April 2020:
- Since 2012, the regime has spent over $16 billion to fund its terror proxies abroad while Iranian healthcare services have remained woefully underfunded. This led the Iranian Health Minister to resign in January 2019 in protest of repeated health budget cuts.
- S. sanctions are not preventing aid from getting to Iran. The United States maintains broad authorizations that allow for the sale of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices by U.S persons or from the United States to Iran.
- Iran also possesses sufficient funds on hand to fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Iran controls hundreds of billions of dollars in its National Development Fund as well as Supreme Leader Khamenei’s many hedge funds flush with assets originally confiscated from the Iranian people. These funds can be used for government spending.
- In 2018, Iran withdrew an estimated $2.5 billion from its National Development Fund for increased defense spending. In 2019, Iran withdrew $1.5 billion from the fund for other military expenses.
- While sitting on the request for coronavirus relief, Iran reportedly transferred $400 million from the fund to pay for government salaries. Khamenei also found the time to intervene in the parliamentary budget process and on March 19 increased funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by 33% over Rouhani’s original budget request.