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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Another “Success” Story from U.S. Sanctions


U.S. officials can claim another “success” with their sanctions against Iran. A Russian-made Tupolev airplane crash-landed in Iran, injuring 42 passengers.

Those passengers were much luckier than those traveling on an Iranian flight to Armenia last summer. All 168 passengers were killed. That plane was Russian-built too.

Also last summer, another Iranian Russian-built plane skidded off a runway and caught fire, killing 16 passengers and injuring 21 more.

In February 2006 another Russian-built Iranian plane crash-landed, killing 29 passengers.

What do all those plane crashes have to do with the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government has been enforcing for several years against Iran?

According to an article about the latest crash in the Washington Post: , “U.S. sanctions against Iran have prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West, forcing it to add to its aging fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes with aircraft from Russia and other former Soviet Union states.”

An article published a couple of weeks ago on Wired, entitled “Sanctions Keep Vintage Aircraft Flying in Iran” by Keith Barry, addressed the heart of the problem:

“Blocked from purchasing modern Western aircraft by economic sanctions in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s domestic airlines rely on an aging fleet of planes that have largely disappeared from North American and European skies. As a result, what Havana is to old cars, Tehran is to old airplanes.”

The reference to Havana and old cars is to the 50-year U.S. sanctions/embargo against Cuba, which, operating in conjunction with Castro’s socialist economic system, has succeeded in squeezing the economic lifeblood out of the Cuban people.

The sanctions against Iran also bring to mind the 11 years of brutal sanctions against Iraq, which succeeded in contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Part of the reason for this was the same problem that afflicts the Iranian airliner fleet: the Iraqi sanctions precluded Iranian officials from acquiring the necessary equipment and parts to repair the water-and-sewage treatment plants that the U.S. government intentionally destroyed during the Persian Gulf War, with full knowledge of what effect that would have on the spread of infectious illnesses.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out the official mindset of Washington regarding the “success” of the Iraq sanctions, as reflected by the immortal statement of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright, who told “Sixty Minutes” that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it.”

The purpose of the U.S. sanctions against Iran? It’s the same as the sanctions against Cuba and Iraq: regime change — that is, the ouster of regimes that oppose the U.S. Empire and their replacement with regimes that will do the Empire’s bidding.

What happens if an Iranian who has lost his parents, spouse, children, or countrymen on any of those flights retaliates out of anger and rage with a terrorist strike against the United States? The official response of U.S. officials will be the same as it was after the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “We’re innocent! We’re innocent! The U.S. government is innocent. We have done nothing wrong. We’ve just been minding our own business. The terrorists are lying when they say they’re angry over losing their loved ones as a result of the sanctions we have imposed against Iran. Everyone knows that terrorists hate America for our freedom and religious values.”

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.