Iran: US sanctions silent warfare, terrorism

Iran has denounced the United States’ indiscriminate sanctions regime as “silent warfare,” reacting to a US official’s recent claim that Washington has enforced the pressure mechanism against the Islamic Republic to avert war.

“In effect, not only are the sanctions an alternative to war, but also they are a modern alternative to genocide and terrorism, and an example of a silent war,” Ali Rabiei, spokesman for the Iranian administration, told a news briefing on Monday.

The only difference between the two hostile courses of action is that by opting for sanctions, the US has rid itself of cumbersome international regulations that prohibit the killing of civilians during an act of war, and is instead pressuring people by restricting their financial resources as well as medical, and food supplies, he explained.

Washington has replaced warfare with sanctions “because it thinks international law cannot protect people, who are the real victims of sanctions,” he noted.

On Saturday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington was using sanctions because “they are an important alternative for world military conflicts.”

The Americans are “committing a mistake and at the same time trying to deceive the people of the world,” Rabiei added.

He described Mnuchin’s remarks as “a key historic confession” and the first time Washington has explicitly equated sanctions with war.

The US bans, the spokesperson noted, have come to target the Iranian population in general, and more specifically the vulnerable groups including the underprivileged and working class, pensioners, as well as patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

Despite alleging that it does not pursue war, Washington has posed a threat to international peace and security through such unfair measures, Rabiei noted, and expressed certainty that the US public would eventually realize the true essence of Washington’s actions.

The American psywar

According to Rabiei, Mnuchin’s words clearly reflected that Washington’s tactics are chiefly meant to undermine the psychological security and wellbeing of the Iranian nation.

He cited the US sanctions targeting the Iranian aviation and maritime industries as an instance of coordinated efforts to try and provoke the Iranian nation, adding the Islamic Republic had, well in advance, predicted Washington’s plans to target companies that contribute to the flow of commodities into and outside the country.

The Islamic Republic is of the opinion, he said, that the US would not be able to sustain such policy in the long run.

‘Propagating Iranophobia a US tradition’

Separately, Rabiei responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent attempt at implicating Iran in the rocket attacks targeting American interests in Iraq, as well as his threat of taking action against the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian official noted that the US top diplomat had failed to substantiate his allegations with any evidence. “They didn’t even name one witness,” he said.

He stated that it was only natural for American facilities to come under attack at a time when Iraq was witnessing protests and when the whole Arab country was facing ambiguity caused by the US interference.

Instead of seeking to portray the Islamic Republic as the enemy, the US needs to review its own policies in Iraq, Rabiei suggested, adding that spreading Iranophobia has always been a Washington tradition.

“We are used to such saber-rattling,” the spokesman said, noting that regional states are acutely aware that Iran does not engage in any special operation in any country and is not a source of threat to them.

The official, however, asserted that Tehran would deliver a “crushing and intensifying” response should Washington attempt to undertake any act of aggression.

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