The US House of Representatives has repeated a Senate action in voting for additional illegal sanctions against Iran, pushed by the influential American pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC.
The hasty congressional action on Wednesday, intended to further punish all banks, insurance firms and shipping lines involved in Iran’s oil exports, comes just before the US Congress adjourns for a lengthy summer break to campaign for November’s nationwide congressional and presidential elections, while both the dominant political parties are resorting to extraordinary measures to gratify the affluent pro-Israeli lobby group for support in the peak of the election campaign season.
On Tuesday, Obama announced new unilateral sanctions against foreign banks that help Iran sell its oil, specifically citing China's Bank of Kunlun. China's Foreign Ministry says the move violates the norms of international relations and damages relations between Beijing and Washington.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Hamid Reza Emadi, a political commentator in Tehran, to shed more light on the issue. Below is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Hamid, the Congress has effectively voted to put more pressure on Iranian civilians, hasn’t it?
Sure it has. This latest move by the US Congress shows the extent to which Washington has become frustrated and now it is going to step up their pressure on Iranian civilians by preventing the country from importing agricultural products.
Iran is a grain importer and the US knows that and by creating obstacles in the way of grain exports to Iran, the US is clearly committing crimes against humanity because it only affects ordinary Iranians who have got nothing to do with the country’s nuclear energy program.
Do not forget that it is not just agricultural products; the US is putting maximum pressure on international banks doing business with Iran, therefore Iranian medical companies cannot import some vital medicines.
So the US is depriving the Iranian civilians of food and medicine that is again in clear violation of international laws. That is illegal and needs to be investigated by the international community. I believe that Iran should also pursue the matter in international courts.
Hamid, how different is the latest round of sanctions from the previous ones?
This one focuses more on people rather than the government and some US lawmakers say this is the toughest they have ever imposed on Iran.
Listen to this. This is the Jerusalem Post
today. The bill was endorsed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee which said the measure when coupled with existing US sanctions represents the strongest set of sanctions to isolate any country in the world during peacetime.
According to National Defense Authorization Act 2012, a foreign financial institution conducting or facilitating a transaction for the sale of food, medicine or medical devices to Iran will not be subject to sanctions.
But the Congress on Wednesday night US time has amended that and is now preventing sales of agricultural products to Iran.
What does that mean? It means they have decided to step up the pressure on the Iranian people. They have also prevented Iran from buying commercial airplane parts that has caused many plane crashes over the past years; many innocent people have been killed in plane crashes caused by this and the US has to be held accountable for these crimes at the end of the day.