Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

An Iranian elderly woman who has infected by the coronavirus uses oxygen as she lies on a hospital bed in a Covid-19 section of a hospital in southern Tehran on October 6, 2020. (Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

'Outright Genocidal': Even as Iran Reels From Covid-19 Pandemic, Trump to Unveil Punishing New Sanctions

"These new sanctions, as well as the brutal ones already in place, only hurt the Iranian citizens and should be considered a crime against humanity."

Jake Johnson

In a move that could further restrict Iran's access to humanitarian goods such as food and medicine at a time when the country is being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Thursday imposed punishing new sanctions on the Iranian financial sector reportedly at the behest of warmongers in the Republican Party, Israeli officials, and hawkish U.S. advocacy organizations.

The new measures, unveiled despite opposition from European nations, "will target the few remaining banks not currently subject to secondary sanctions in a move European governments say is likely to diminish channels Iran uses to import humanitarian goods," according to the Washington Post.

"[Secretary of State Pompeo] doesn't stand with Iranians, he stands on their throats as they suffocate."
—Assal Rad, National Iranian American Council
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war group CodePink, told Common Dreams that by attempting to blacklist the Iranian financial sector, the Trump administration is "kowtowing to Israel and the right-wing Foundation for the Defense of Democracies," which joined warmongering Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and other Republican lawmakers in lobbying for the fresh sanctions.

"These new sanctions, as well as the brutal ones already in place, only hurt the Iranian citizens and should be considered a crime against humanity," Benjamin said. "Let's hope Trump is ousted on November 3 and the Biden administration rejoins the Iran Nuclear Deal before Trump takes us into war with Iran."

In a tweet late Wednesday, Sina Toossi, senior research analyst with the National Iranian American Council, warned that the Trump administration's latest push to devastate the Iranian banking sector shows that "the economic warfare against Iran is heightening and becoming outright genocidal."

"The promoters of these sick policies outrageously claim they care about the Iranian people and democracy," Toossi added. "They're the opposite of civilized and have no principles other than brutally forcing their will."

According to Bloomberg, the new sanctions would "designate the Iranian financial sector under Executive Order 13902, which President Donald Trump signed in January to clamp down on mining, construction and other industries. That would not only affect banks, but also remittance processors, money-changers, and the informal transfer system used frequently in the Muslim world known as hawala."

"Then the administration would blacklist roughly 14 banks in Iran that have so far escaped some U.S. restrictions," Bloomberg noted.

The sanctions come just days after Iran reported a record 4,151 new coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, bringing the nation's total number of positive cases to more than 479,000. The hardest-hit nation in the Middle East, Iran has reported nearly 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus—a figure that critics said will only be made worse by the Trump administration's economic warfare.

"After all the lies that Trump's sanctions don't affect the Iranian people, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo is now deliberately killing the only remaining channels for humanitarian trade," said Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said in a statement Thursday that the Trump administration's decision to plow ahead with its potentially disastrous economic measures "is a heartless and sadistic move that has no moral or strategic justification."

"It is critical that the American people and our elected representatives put an end to this cruel, inhumane, and strategically catastrophic suffering and humiliation that is being imposed on innocent Iranians in our names," said Abdi. "We must be vigilant to ensure the Trump administration does not do irreparable damage or pull the U.S. into a disastrous war before his time in office comes to a well-deserved end."

This article has been updated with additional comment from the National Iranian American Council.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'We Need Fewer Guns in Schools, Not More': Teachers Reject GOP Call for Armed Educators

"Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards," the president of a leading teachers' union asserted in the wake of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Texas.

Brett Wilkins ·


Faith Leaders, Teachers Mobilize for Protests at NRA's Houston Meeting in Wake of Uvalde Massacre

"Don't look away," said one advocacy group. "Rally against the NRA."

Julia Conley ·


NY Appeals Court Rules Trump and Two of His Kids Must Testify in Financial Fraud Case

"Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Kenny Stancil ·


After Racist Massacre in Buffalo, Senate GOP Blocks Domestic Terrorism Bill

"There are a lot of MAGA Republicans for whom no amount of gun violence... will ever, ever convince them to take any action," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Jake Johnson ·


Ocasio-Cortez Endorses Entire Slate of Democratic Socialists in NY

"As AOC knows," DSA For the Many tweeted, "when we fight together, we win together!"

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo