An American scholar has slammed the use of sanctions against Iran as a crime worthy of investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging the United Nations to denounce inhumane US sanctions instead of endorsing one-sided resolutions on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic.
Richard Falk, international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV, days after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed an anti-Iran resolution drafted by Canada.
He said the main sponsors of the document, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States, have relentlessly exhibited hostility towards Iran ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and are themselves notorious human rights violators.
“It is a resolution that is objectionable on several counts. The hypocrisy of the resolution is shameless,” he added.
The resolution was approved on Thursday by a vote of 78 in favor, 31 against, and 69 abstentions. It accuses Iran of "widespread violations of its people’s basic rights" and urges the Tehran government to improve the situation of human rights in the country.
Falk called on the UN to censure the sanctions, imposed on Iran by the administration of former US president Donald Trump following its withdrawal from the 2015 deal and kept in place by his successor Joe Biden.
“From an objective perspective, it is the harsh sanctions imposed by the US in 2018 during the Trump presidency but kept in place so far by the Biden political leadership in Washington that deserve denunciation at the UN,” he said.
“The UN discredits its own commitment to human rights by endorsing this one-sided resolution on ‘the human rights situation in Iran.’ Massive suffering of the Iranian people has resulted from the US sanctions, which have diminished Iranian earning from oil exports and trade generally, from $46 billion in 2019 to $28 billion in 2020.”
The scholar also noted that the use of sanctions against Iran amounts to the use of a weapon of mass destruction that constitutes a crime against humanity worthy of an ICC probe.
“Over many years these punitive sanctions have afflicted especially the poor in Iran but also the middle classes, as well as violating such fundamental human rights as the right to life and the right to food, both legally protected rights in international law,” he said.
“It is time to condemn the use of sanctions as a geopolitical tool for the intimidation and punishment of countries targeted by the West, especially by the United States, and their populations. Against this background, the UNGA Resolution critical of human rights serves to rationalize and even justify the sanctions policy, despite its encroachment upon the sovereign rights of Iran.”
In a statement on Friday, Zahra Ershadi, deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, said that the UNGA resolution exposes the hostile policy of its sponsors and their intention to incite Iranophobia.
Falk said Ershadi is certainly correct to suggest that the document is an expression of hostility.
“Trump’s approach was cruder – unconditionally backing Israel’s anti-Iranian regional agenda and believing that threats and coercive measures against Iran would provide the basis for a successful exercise of transactional diplomacy. In retrospect, the Trump transactional approach failed to induce Iran to surrender politically or come abjectly to the bargaining table with a willingness to sacrifice its sovereign rights to the dictates of countries resolved on destabilization, and hoping to achieve regime change in Tehran by any means, whether legal or not, moral or not, prudent or not,” he explained.
“Biden has made clear that he would like to modify this direct confrontational approach without weakening the partisan embrace of so-called ‘special relationships’ with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Such geopolitical acrobatics seem certain to fail as the objectives are contradictory … To date, the evidence suggests that Biden’s priorities are domestic, and he is unwilling to risk generating tensions with Israel in the course of seeking a new path to a restored nuclear arrangement and a path that leads to peace, stability, and normalization,”
Falk further described the UN resolution as “one further sign” that Iran should not expect the US government under Biden’s leadership to depart from either the hostile orientation of the last 40 years or the partisan pro-Israeli diplomacy of the last 75 years.