Please, FOR Mariam’s sake, Contact your congressperson. Here are some ideas. Your rep can be found here
This letter concerns Iran. What I hope to do is suggest a way forward that will alter the future if Iran/US relations. For almost 40 years we have sanctioned Iran and accomplished nothing but cause harm to the Iranian people. It is time to be smart.
What I find utterly amazing in that Congress and the US Department of Treasury seem hellbent on alienating our biggest ally in the middle east. That biggest ally, according to Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, is the pro American Iranian People. I propose two changes to alter 37 years of failed policy and embrace this ally.
Know that that 85 percent of Iranians (Huffington Post 1/7/2017) desire better relations with the west. This ally could be found dancing in the streets of Tehran when the nuclear deal (JCPOA) was signed. They are the ones dancing in the streets again when they voted for better relations with the west again by voting for Rouhani in May of this year and casting aside the theocrats. In response, we issued more sanctions and elected a president that desires to tear up the deal. We responded to the recent terror attacks in Tehran not by a moment of silence like the Iranian people showed us after 9/11; we responded by proposing more sanctions. We have disappointed this ally time and time again but there is a chance to change this. There exists a chance to do something that I challenge could win bipartisan support. That would be something positive for, as both Trump and Netanyahu recently described, the “beautiful people of Iran”.
There are several things I could recommend to change our relationship with the “beautiful people of Iran” but the following suggestions are two things that can be done now.
First, we need to acknowledge we screwed the Iranian people. In spite of pronouncements that actions undertaken by the Congress should not “impact humanitarian aid”, the simple truth is Iranians have suffered and continue to suffer horrifically as a result of lack of medications. The impacts are documented in a study published on the US National Institutes of Health website on June 8, 2016 (you can find a link to the study at www.Mariamswish.com). Sanctions that have been lifted as a result of the JCPOA have, to a degree, improve this situation. But, less than two weeks ago, 30 critical medications where identified as still being in short supply by an Iranian government official because of banking sanctions. More recently, a pharmaceutical representative of a large Canadian drug company reported that some cancer drugs are in short supply and people are dying and his firm will not handle specific medications developed in the US for fear of “running afoul of US sanction”. More recently, a sufferer from Parkinsons reported that medications for his ailment are still not available because of sanctions. Here is the problem. In addition to prohibitions imposed on US companies, in addition to an elaborate maze of regulatory impediments, banking restrictions and Treasury’s multimillion-dollar fines issued to drug companies there also exists a fog caused by the anti-regime rhetoric that echoes in hallways of Capitol Hill. This environment absolutely counters every pronouncement that actions by Congress are designed to not impeded humanitarian aid to the Iranian people. This needs to change.
While the aforementioned study has several recommendations, there is one that could be implemented immediately. We need a resolution, legislation, something that sends a message. That message needs to echo in the hallways of Treasury, in the boardroom of every drug and medical device manufacturer, every banking institution, insurance company, etc.. That message needs to reverberate around the world. The message is never will there ever be a time with the people of the United States ever allow the needless suffering of cancer, Parkinson’s, MLS, ALS, diabetes patient. Regardless of whether the US upholds the JCPOA and regardless of any relationship with the government of Iran, never will this country allow the needless suffering of any Iranian child or adult. Do this one thing and the 6 million Iranians who have suffered and continue to suffer will realize that we, just as Trump and Netanyahu did, can separate the regime from our biggest ally in the middle east.
We have another chance to change the direction of our actions and that can be done in two ways. One is to order an overhaul, or at a minimum, a review of OFAC. I could spend a lot of time explaining why, quite possibly, it is not necessary for OFAC to authorize the sale of a paperclip made in the US to an office in Tehran. I understand the need for ballistic missile parts to be regulated but I do not understand paperclips. There is one example of this regulatory idiocy that tells the story best. Shirin Ebadi is a Nobel Peace Prize winning Iranian lawyer. She was the first Muslim woman to win that prize and she won that prize because of her efforts to battle Iran’s theocratic regime. She is famous the world over as a result. She came to this country to publish the story of her struggle. Ebadi was forced to file a lawsuit against Treasury because the regulations precluded her from publishing the book in this country. Take a minute to think about that. I will give you another example of this idiocy. On December 22, 2016, as part of the easing of sanctions pursuant to the JCPOA, OFAC issued revised regulations easing the export of medical supplies and medicines to Iran. It was applauded. I did not applaud. One of the lauded benefits was that, if somehow an American company could now sell an MRI to Iran, the technicians of that American company can now (emphasis added) communicate with the technician in the Iranian hospital. Those new regulations allow these two entities to communicate. Think about that. It gets worse. Now, if the MRI needs a replacement part the December 22 ruling now allows the hospital to buy MORE THAN ONE REPLACEMENT PART! Have your staff think about that also. If your staff fail to see the problem then I have wasted the effort to formulate this plea.
You want to help the 68 million Iranians who desire the same, then open Iran to commerce. Let the wood carver in Tehran and the artist in Esfahan unfettered access to American markets. Make it so Apple and Google did not need to drop their apps in Iran. Question whether the OFAC’s $4 million dollar fine against Illinois based seed company for selling flower seeds to Iran was really necessary. Make sure that music teacher in southern California can buy a stringed instrument from Iran without hassle from Treasury. And apologize to the Parkinson’s patient in Iran for precluding medications from getting to that Iranian sufferer. For once, do these things for the Iranian people and you will have done more to alter the future course of US/Iran relations than 37 years of failed sanction efforts.
PS If you desire more info on US/Iran relations you can go to www.Mariamswish.com. In particular read the proposed article entitled – US, Iran, Parkinsons and Clueless.
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