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Fri Sep 13, 2013, 10:14 AM

A Very Perfect Instrument

By Andrew Cockburn

Source: Harpers.org

Friday, September 13, 2013


Not until five months after the armistice that ended WWI did the Allies allow Germany to import food — not out of concern for the ongoing death and suffering, but out of fear that desperate Germans would follow the Russians into Bolshevism. By the time it was lifted, the peacetime blockade had killed about a quarter of a million people, including many children who either starved or died from diseases associated with malnutrition. A survey of 600 young Nazis on their motivations for supporting Hitler suggested that a major influence was their vivid memories of childhood hunger and privation.

Reality gives the lie to these assertions. Simply put, licenses and waivers are irrelevant, because the excision of Iranian banks from the global financial system makes it practically impossible for anyone exporting medical supplies to Iran to get paid. The U.S. campaign to scare banks out of dealing with Iran under any circumstances has seen to that. And while Levey, like Cohen, insists that “U.S. sanctions carve out transactions for medicine and agricultural products,” Siamak Namazi, a Dubai-based researcher who has made the deepest study of this issue, argues otherwise. He quotes a senior Iranian pharmaceutical executive who flew to Paris to present a French bank with documents showing a trade was fully legal, only to be told: “Even if you bring a letter from the French president himself saying it is okay to do so, we will not risk this.”

So, years pass. We “squeeze, and then squeeze some more” with no end in sight. I am told that there were high-level intelligence briefings in Washington late last year predicting popular unrest in Iran due to hardships inflicted by the sanctions. I myself saw evidence of this misapprehension in a chance dinner conversation with a very senior State Department official and a wealthy Iranian-American businessman.

“The Iranians will respond to pressure,” said the official confidently.

I repeated this remark to the Iranian sitting beside him, whose eyes promptly widened in astonishment. “Oh no, not at all,” he replied. “You should meet my aunts in Tehran. They are from the old regime, nothing to do with the government, and yet they are so angry about the sanctions, they demonstrate for a nuclear Iran.”

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/a-very-perfect-instrument-by-andrew-cockburn.html

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