Mar 29, 2020, 10:31 AM
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US Academics and NGO leaders: End Iran Sanctions
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New York, March 29, IRNA - A diverse group of US academics, researchers and NGO leaders have signed an open letter addressed to the leaders of the P4+1 countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia) and the US lawmakers, calling on them to lift sanctions on Iran impeding Iranian campaign against coronavirus.

Through their letter, the academics and civil society activists have called for putting pressure on administration of the US President Donald Trump to remove unilateral sanctions against Iran.

Several distinguished academics including Noam Chomsky, Hamid Dabashi, Robert Crews, and John Packer have signed this letter which was drafted and coordinated by the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy.

Today, Iran like other world countries is fighting against the coronavirus; meanwhile, Iran is under the sanctions and cannot receive medical equipment.

The deadly coronavirus have killed over 2,500 Iranians since its outbreak in the country in late February.

If academics, researchers and NGO leaders would like to add their names to the letter, they have time before March 31, 2020.


The full text of the Open Letter is as follows:

This week, confirmed infections of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 surpassed 586,000 worldwide and global deaths rose past 26,800 as the outbreak continues to spread across the Middle East, Europe, and North America. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide deaths have tripled while global cases have more than doubled in the past week.

Iran is among the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, with over 2,300 deaths and 32,000 cases of infections from the COVID-19. It is also the only country that is dealing with this level of cases while living under severe economic sanctions.

In 2018, the Trump administration imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran and implemented a policy of maximum pressure after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

While on paper the US administration has provided humanitarian exemptions in its sanctions regime, reports from Iranian civil society, international aid organizations, and human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, show a different reality on the ground as US sanctions, including banking restrictions, have severely impacted Iranians’ access to medical equipment and essential medicine.

In recent weeks, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Pakistan have asked the US to ease sanctions on Iran during this unprecedented global pandemic. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has ignored these requests and instead have imposed even more sanctions on the country.

We believe that it is not only unjust to leave Iranian people alone in this global crisis, but is indeed a violation of Iranians’ inalienable rights to health and access to medical care. Furthermore, we believe that this pandemic is a shared global threat and it could only be defeated when all countries and people come together and support one another.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on all members of the United Nations Security Council to act in compliance with international law and UNSC resolution 2231 and to support Iranian people in their fight against this global pandemic.

We also urge the US lawmakers to pressure the Trump administration to immediately lift all sanctions that are impeding Iran’s response to the outbreak, including financial sanctions.

574 Signatures as of 9pm March 28, 2020

List of initial signatures* (in alphabetical order based on first name):

Abbas Edalat, Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics. Founder, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Adi Burton,    Doctoral Candidate, University of British Columbia
Ali Gholizadeh,    Public Policy researcher, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)
Ali Naghieh, Dr./ Fellow, University College London
Alireza Doostdar,    Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Alison Happel-Parkins,    Associate Professor, University of Memphis
Andreas Otto,    Dr./Board Member EUIRANC – European Iranian Council
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam    , Professor in Global Thought, SOAS, University of London
Assal Rad,    Research Fellow, National Iranian American Council
Azadeh N Shahshahani,    Legal & Advocacy Director, Project South; past president, National Lawyers Guild
Barbara Slavin,    American journalist and foreign policy expert
Bijan Ahmadi,    Executive Director, Institute for Peace & Diplomacy
Dani Magsumbol,    Doctoral student in Politics, York University
Farhang Jahanpour,    Retired professor and retired editor for Middle East and North Africa, BBC Monitoring
Farideh Farhi,    Independent Scholar
Fayyaz Baqir,    Visting professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa
Hamid Dabashi,    Professor, Columbia University
Hassan Allami,    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa
Hassan Ansari,    Long-Term Member- Institute for Advanced Study. Princeton
Hasan Hafidh,    Dr./ Senior Teaching Fellow, SOAS
Hoda Katebi    , Writer and community organizer
Hossein Kamaly,     Associate Professor, Hartford
Jaleh Mansoor,    Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Jamal Abdi,    President, National Iranian American Council
Javad Shamsi,    PhD student in Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science
John Packer, Professor, University of Ottawa
John Philpot, American Association of Jurists
Jon Rainwater, Executive Director , Peace Action
Kevin McDonough, Associate Professor, McGill University
Khodadad Rezakhani    , Research Scholar, Princeton University
Lisa Weems,    Professor, Miami University of Ohio
Mahdi Nikbakht, Fini    Research Assistant, Aalborg University
Mahsa Rouhi, Research Fellow, IISS
Manjeet Ramgotra,    Lecturer in Political Theory, SOAS University of London
Maryam Nabavi,    Strategist, Equity & Inclusion, University of British Columbia
Maysam Behravesh,    PhD candidate in political science, Lund University
Megan Altman,    Professor, Cornell College
Mohammad Borghei, Strayer University(retired professor) social and political activist
Mohammad Keyhani,     Associate Professor, University of Calgary
Mohsen Khaniki, Board Member, Iranian Canadian Congress
Morteza Hashemi,    University of Edinburgh
Muhammad Sahimi,    Professor, University of Southern California
Nader Hashemi,    Director of Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver
Nassim Noroozi,    Visiting Lecturer, Concordia University
Neda Mohammadi,    Imperial College London
Noam Chomsky,    Institute Professor (emeritus), MIT. Laureate Professor, U. of Arizona
Omid Milani, Ph.D.    Professor, University of Ottawa
Parham Pashaei    ,PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia
Peyman Jafari,    Dr./ Princeton University/University of Amsterdam
Pouya Alimagham,    Lecturer in History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Reem Abou-El-Fadl,    Senior Lecturer, SOAS University of London
Rojeh Jahani,    Vancouver Peace Council
Rose Wellman,    Assistant Professor, University of Michigan-Dearborn
S. J. Adrienna Joyce,    PhD candidate, McGill University
Sahar Maranlou, Dr./ Lecturer in Law. University of Essex
Saideh Khadir,    Family physician and peace advocate
Sam Salehi Samiee,    Painting Department, ArtEZ University of Arts and Design
Samuel D. Rocha,    Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Sara Behforootan,    Research Associate, Imperial College London
Saranaz Barforoush, Ph.D.    Assistant Professor Teaching, University of British Columbia
Sepideh Jodeyri,    Member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Setareh Shohadaei,    PhD Candidate, Department of Politics, The New School
Shadi Mokhtari,    Assistant Professor, American University
Shirin Saeidi,    Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Arkansas
Sina Toossi    Senior, Research Analyst, National Iranian American Council
Soroosh Shahriari,    PhD Candidate, McGill University
Soudeh Ghasemi    , President of the Iranian Canadian Congress
Sylvat Aziz,    Associate professor, Queen’s university
Taha Ahmadi, Vostakolaei    PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia
Thomas Woodley    , President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Trita Parsi,    Adjunct Associate Professor, Georgetown University
Yaser Mirdamadi,    Dr./ Researcher in Muslim biomedical ethics, the Institute of Isma’ili Studies, London
Younes Zangiabadi,    Vice President, Institute for Peace & Diplomacy
Yousof Azizi    , PhD Candidate in Public Administration at Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs
List of some of the academics and civil society activists who have signed the letter after it was published on march 28 (in no particular order):
Robert Crews,    Professor, Stanford University
Yoshiko Ozawa,    Japan International Cooperation Agency
Mahmud Farjami,    Associate Professor. at Kristiania University Colleges
Roham Afghani Khoraskani,    Assistant Professor + Shahid Beheshti University
Milad Mohammadi,    Postdoctoral researcher at University Hospital of Cologne
Arang Keshavarzian,     Associate Professor, New York University
Mohammad Reza Farzanegan    , Professor of Economics of the Middle East/ Philipps-Universität Marburg Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS)
Meysam Akhtar,    Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Arash Massoudieh,    Associate Professor and Chair, The Catholic University of America
Amir Sabbagh, Molahosseini    Research Fellow, Queens University Belfast
Mohammadmehdi Saberioon,    Postdoctoral researcher in German geoscience research centre
Saeed Bagheri,    Dr./ Postdoctoral fellow, University of Reading
Abdolrasool Divsallar,    Program Associate, European University Institute
Kaveh Ehsani,    Assistant Professor DePaul University
Pouyan Tabasinejad,    Vice President, Iranian Canadian Congress
Fatemeh Abdollahzadeh,    Professor, Central Connecticut State University
Hamidreza Azizi    , Visiting Fellow, German Institute for International and Security Affairs
Mahmood Shafeie Zargar,    Assistant Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Ahmad Ehsandar,    Research Associate – University of Waterloo
Abbas Javadtalab,    Assistant professor,Concordia university
Salar Haghighatafshar,    Researcher at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Sweden
Eli Kramer,    Institute of Philosophy, University of Wroclaw
Norma Claire Moruzzi,    Director, International Studies Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
Alireza Keshavarz,    Assistant Professor, Maynooth University
Damon Lynch,    Doctoral Candidate at the University of Minnesota
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini,    Founder/CEO International Civil Society Action Network
Mostafa Henaway,    Social justice fellow/ PhD candidate geography planning and environmental studies Concordia University
Alireza Zandi Karimi,    PhD, Part time faculty member, Concordia University
Melanie Shulman,    Professor – Humber College
Anthony Paré,    Professor, Universiy of British Columbia
Eli McCarthy,    Adjunct Lecturer, Georgetown University
Reza Namdari,    Community Activist, Engineer, Order of engineers
Parviz Haghgoo,    Iranian Canadian Coalition for Peace

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