The Sanctions On Iran Are Against International Law: Thierry Meyssan
Interview By Kourosh Ziabari
05 March, 2013
Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 removed from power the U.S. ally Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the White House decided to impose economic sanctions on Iran to punish the Iranian people for the choice they had made. The only crime the Iranian people had committed was that they didn’t want to be under the umbrella of the U.S. imperialism anymore. However, in the recent decades, the United States intensified the sanctions on Iran and prodded its European allies to stop trading with Iran over the allegations that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. They couldn’t bring forward any evidence to substantiate their claim, but they’re tightening the grip on the Iranian people every day.
In order to study and investigate the impact of the sanctions on the Iranian people, the decision by some countries to evade them and the effects they’ll have on the future of Iran-West relations, we have began doing interviews with renowned academics, journalists and authors about the anti-Iranian sanctions and their different aspects.
We have sat down with the world-renowned French journalist and political activist Thierry Meyssan to discuss the sanctions. Meyssan is the founder and editor of the Voltaire Network, an independent news and analysis website which publishes articles and analyses in English, French, Deutsch and Italian. In 2002, Meyssan published his first book “9/11: The Big Lie” in which he argued that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by a fraction of the U.S. military industrial complex. The book was translated into 28 languages. He has also published 13 other books in French and English.
What follows is the text of Iran Review’s interview with Thierry Meyssan to whom we have talked about the anti-Iranian sanctions, their humanitarian impact, the effects of EU’s oil embargo on the continent’s economy, Israel’s war threats against Iran and the political treatment of international trading protocols by the U.S. and its allies.
Q: The United States and the European states pretend that their intention is to prevent Iran from getting access to nuclear weapons, but from what they’re doing in imposing sanctions on medicine, foodstuff and other consumer goods, it’s evident that they’re targeting the daily lives of the Iranian citizens. What’s your viewpoint on that?
A: I think there’s absolutely no connection between the claims of the United States and the Europeans, and what they’re doing. The claim that they want to prevent Iran from diverting to a military nuclear program is the only justification for the sanctions, but the sanctions are aimed at other purposes. There’s really no connection between the sanctions and what they claim.
Q: Are the sanctions meaningful and relevant in the context of the demands and standards of the globalized economy in the contemporary world?
A: Of course no. From one hand, you promote free trade, and from the other hand, you organize sanctions. But most important is that the sanctions are against the international law. The only regular sanctions are those which are decided by the Security Council. Any unilateral sanction is the violation of the human rights.
Q: Do you think that the process of passing Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council was legal and lawful?
A: You can ask this question about Security Council’s performance on different topics. Why not about that? That’s only a way to legalize what is illegal.
Q: You already mentioned that the sanctions are against human rights. Isn’t the United States violating the essential rights of Iranian people through these sanctions while it claims that it cares for the protection of human rights across the world?
A: Sanctions are an act of war, and this is an aggression. They have also prohibited trade for medicine and it’s obvious that this is an attack on human rights and there’s no question about that. It’s very shocking to note that in the Western countries, the people don’t react to such aggressions.
Q: Some Russian officials, as well as a number of political commentators have affirmed that the objective of the sanctions is not only to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, but to create social unrest and bring about regime change in the country. Is this an accurate analysis?
A: I think that in the United States, there are some theories according to which, by imposing sanctions on a country, you will push the people to rise against their own government. This theory was first developed by the U.S. military to justify total war during the WWII. They wanted to pit the German people against the Nazi government. They continued with this stupid theory in different parts of the world, but it didn’t work all the time. However, they’re still teaching this theory in the military universities in the United States. They extended this theory to the sanctions, and now they have big sanctions against different countries, especially against North Korea with which they have already been at a war through these sanctions. They did the same to Cuba and now with Iran. But we can see that the result is always absolutely the opposite of what they expect of this theory.
Q: It can be seen that along with the expansion of the sanctions, the resistance of the Iranian nation has also increased. Do you think that the U.S. and its allies have succeeded in realizing their goal that is to bring the Iranian nation to its knees?
A: I think that there are two different aims for the sanctions. Firstly, some countries want to destroy the axis of resistance, and to prevent the expansion of the Islamic Revolution. But for other countries, the aim is only to maintain the colonial system and the big technological gap between the dominant nations and the dominated nations. So, all of them expect that the Iranian economy will quickly collapse, but what we can see is absolutely the contrary. You have to compare the situation of the economy of Iran with that of the other countries in the same part of the world. Some countries decided to make alliance with the United States to be sure they’ll not be attacked by it and expected that with the help of the United States, they will have economic progress. But now we can see that the economy of Iran is growing faster than them. And most importantly, the economy of the allies of the U.S. in this part of the world is always dependent on the West. But Iran now has its own industry and its own production in different fields. So, the U.S. allies made a bad choice. It was more difficult for the Iranians, but the results are much better.
Q: What do you think about the impact of EU’s oil embargo against Iran, especially in the wake of the current economic crisis? Some analysts believe that around 15 to 20 percent of the current price of the oil is a result of the sanctions. What’s your viewpoint on that?
A: When you decide to impose sanctions, it means that you want to stop trade between two countries. So, Iran is harmed by the sanctions, but the Western countries are also harmed by the sanctions. The sanctions mean suffering for the Western countries. You cut the hands of Iran [with the sanctions] but you also cut the hands of the other countries. Especially for the European countries which have long faced an economic crisis, the sanctions are obviously very costly. You know that the best example in France is the story of Peugeot. They decided to stop trade with Iran, while Iran was the best market for Peugeot. So, this pushed Peugeot to close some factories in France with a big problem of unemployment and what is strange in this story is that Peugeot doesn’t apply official sanctions. You have the Security Council sanctions, you have the unilateral sanctions of the EU and U.S. and now you have the private sanctions from big companies.
Q: Currently, some countries try to evade the sanctions and do trade with Iran, while a number of others prefer not to do so. So, the sanctions have turned into an opportunity for the countries which do business with Iran. What do you think about it?
A: This is absolutely true. Because all the countries are obliged to follow the sanctions of the Security Council, and the other sanctions including the unilateral and private sanctions are illegal. So, this opens up opportunities for the countries which respect the international law.
Q: It seems that through issuing repeated war threats against Iran, Israel intends to persuade the United States and EU to impose harsher sanctions against Iran and isolate the country. Is that true?
A: You can see that there’s now a big lobby called United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) which is running a campaign inside the United States and European Union for the increasing and addition of the sanctions and is campaigning for private sanctions, such as in case of Peugeot. What is surprising is that everybody says it’s an NGO. Of course it’s non-governmental in the United States, but in fact it is completely governmental. Interestingly, it’s titled United Against “Nuclear” Iran and not United Against “Military Nuclear” Iran. This group is led by former heads of intelligence services of different countries; you have Meir Dagan of Israel, former CIA director R. James Woolsey, former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove and former Director of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service August Hanning. So all this is a secret war against Iran using official legit.
Q: The United States, European states and Israel are trying to complement the sanctions with war threats and intelligence operations inside Iran, such as assassinating the nuclear scientists, and other acts of sabotage. Have they succeeded in realizing their goal that is to undermine Iran’s security?
A: This policy of targeted killing to impede the scientific and technological capabilities of Iran is a big failure. But this is really because of the reaction of the Iranian people. This technique would not work in Iran. Because in Iran, the young people have started a big movement to study high technologies to help the country; in a lot of countries, the students are undecided on what they want to learn for their future career. But here in Iran, we see the reaction of the people as a body to protect the country. So this policy won’t work.
Q: Cutting Iran’s access to such mechanisms as SWIFT, which is an international trading protocol, made some countries like the member states of the BRICS group to think of alternative mechanisms for doing business, because they think that the U.S. and its allies can overnight cut one country’s access to such mechanisms. Doesn’t the political treatment of such mechanisms endanger their credibility?
A: SWIFT and all these banking systems in the Western countries regulate the relationship between the different banks. They were organized after the World War II by General Eisenhower himself. Now if you do any big transaction between two banks in Europe, some media claim that they will be all monitored by the CIA. They know everything; every transferring of the secret money. They can blackmail the people they want; they can challenge every financial coalition. They can do everything with that. It’s a very bad idea to use SWIFT and the compensation chambers they have organized in Luxemburg and Belgium and it’s very important for the free countries to have an independent system not monitored by the U.S. and its allies.
Kourosh Ziabari is an award-winning Iranian journalist and media correspondent. He writes for Global Research, CounterCurrents.org, Tehran Times, Iran Review and other publications across the world. His articles and interviews have been translated in 10 languages. His website is http://kouroshziabari.com
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