The International Criminal Court should launch a genocide case against the United States for imposing harsh economic sanctions against countries which resist colonialism, many of them Muslim ones, the founder of an anti-sanctions organisation has said.
Professor Abbas Edalat, of Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), was speaking at the annual Genocide Memorial Day (GMD) conference in London which is organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
“Since the 1970s and 80s the U.S. has acted openly like a rogue state,” said Edalat. “They have supported Zionist atrocities, they imposed criminal sanctions against the Iraqi people for 13 years, they invaded Iraq where they committed widespread war crimes, they used drone attacks under President Obama. All this was done under the cover of American exceptionalism. They think they have the right to do whatever they want.”
Edalat said the most consistent aggression in the last 40 years by the U.S. has been against Iran.
“Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 there has been a multi-pronged aggression – the imposition of sanctions, covert and overt operations for regime change, and supporting Saddam’s 8 year war of aggression against Iran which included supporting chemical attacks against Iran.
“There has also been a whole campaign of demonisation against Iran and especially the manufacturing, together with Israel, of the false allegation that Iran has been developing nukes. And the whole objective of that campaign was to isolate Iran, to put pressure on Iran for regime change which is the final policy and goal.
“Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran which amount to an act of war and a genocide. This move was designed openly for regime change. The idea is to inflict so much pain that the country will rise up against the Islamic Republic. To break the resistance of the Iranian people.”
Edalat said the Western blockade of Iran has led to a massive decrease in Iran’s oil output which is the main source of the government’s revenue. Iran’s currency has lost a third of its value and inflation and food prices have risen considerably, as has unemployment. Half of the population now live below the poverty line.
“Unimaginable pain has been inflicted on Iranian patients because sanctions disallow, in practise, all financial transactions with Iran including for humanitarian supplies,” he said. “So there are thousands of patients who cannot be diagnosed or treated because of a shortage of supplies. And there are of thousands of diabetics who face a shortage of insulin. So the USA, with the complicity of EU powers, have the blood of thousands of Iranians on their hands.
“The Genocide Convention of 1948, to which the United States is a party, says that contracting parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or war, is a crime under international law. This includes acts committed to destroy a national group; deliberately inflicting conditions upon a group calculated to bring about its physical destruction. Many U.S. officials have said the aim of the sanctions is to hurt Iran. So the U.S. has been conducting a genocidal policy in Iran and it needs to be held accountable.
“But Trump’s maximum pressure on Iran has failed to bring the country to its knees despite pockets of protests here and there, as we saw with 95% of the population showing solidarity after the assassination of General Soleimani. There is total unity against the United States despite domestic grievances. We should demand the International Criminal Court bring a case against the U.S. because of its international economic warfare so that justice can be done.”
Another speaker, Professor Ramon Grosfoguel of the University of California Berkeley, said that Venezuela was under similar attack to Iran.
He said: “Sanctions kill innocent people, thousands of them, this is not a joke. Often people who have nothing to do with whatever is going on suffer. Sanctions are used by imperialist countries to punish those countries that challenge their abuses, domination and exploitation. It’s a tool of domination to destroy resistance to colonialism.
“Whenever you have resistance to colonialism the imperialist countries not only use massacres and torture against the people but they also restrict access to foods and medicines to the point of starving to death the colonised populations.
“The sanctions by the U.S. against Cuba, Sudan Iraq, Syria, Iran, Nicaragua and by the Zionists against the Palestinians work in this way. The UN should consider them rogue states or implement sanctions against them, but instead the victims get the sanctions.”
He added: “The Venezuelan case is like Iran. The U.S. uses hyperinflation as a means of punishing resistance. This makes access to food and medicines very difficult. By devaluing a nation’s currency you create artificial scarcity of food and medicine. Prices then go up. The hope is that the discontent of the people who are suffering will be channelled against the government they want to destroy.”
Genocide Memorial Day is a day given to remember man’s inhumanity to man in the perpetration of genocides and genocidal acts.
IHRC has been holding GMD commemorations since 2010 and have attracted a variety of speakers, diverse audiences and activists of all political, religious and ethnic backgrounds in highlighting the genocidal acts that are given insufficient exposure by the mainstream media.