It was inevitable. Today the Guardian reported the first death of an Iranian child from the U.S. Empire’s sanctions on Iran. The death of 15-year-old Iranian Manoucherhr Esmaili-Liousi brings to mind the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children from the 11 years of sanctions that the Empire enforced against Iraq during the 1990s.
According to the article, the boy suffered from haemophilia, and he died as a result of a shortage of medicine brought on by the sanctions. He died in the hospital after his parents were unable to find the medicine needed to save him.
The number of Iranian deaths is almost certain to rise. The article cited a detailed report recently published by the New York Times on how sanctions were suppressing medical imports, including such things as the tetanus vaccine and baby milk.
A spokesman for the British government, which supports the sanctions and which once practiced its own brutal imperial policies against Iran, the fault lies with Iranian officials who, the spokesman said, could make other choices.
That was, of course, the same verbiage that U.S. officials used about Iraqi officials as those Iraqi children were dying year after year.
On one level, they proclaimed that Saddam was building nuclear bombs and other WMDs and that if he would just stop, the sanctions would be lifted.
But on another level, U.S. officials were much more honest—they made it clear that the sanctions were about regime change. If Saddam would leave office and be replaced by a pro-U.S. stooge, then the sanctions could be lifted. As long as Saddam stayed in power, however, the sanctions would remain in place, no matter how many children had to die.
Madeleine Albright, the official spokesman for the Empire to the United Nations, expressed the imperial mindset perfectly when she said that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were, in fact, “worth it.” It is undoubtedly the same mindset that now drives the sanctions on Iran.
After all, what’s the life of one Iranian boy? It’s nothing compared to the much larger issue of regime change in Iran. And the same holds true for the lives of any number of Iranian children or others. They just don’t matter, compared to the larger interests of the U.S. Empire.
Make no mistake about it: the goal of the Empire in Iran is the same as it was in 1953, when the CIA ousted the democratically elected prime minister from power and installed in his stead a pro-U.S. stooge called the shah of Iran. Never mind that he was one of the most brutal dictators of his time (his military, police, and intelligence forces were trained in torture and brutality by the CIA). What mattered was that he was loyal to the U.S. Empire.
That’s what the sanctions in Iran are, once again, intended to accomplish. Oh sure, U.S. officials are conjuring up all the standard scares about nuclear bombs and mushroom clouds because they know that that’s a sure fire way to make the American people support everything they do. But the WMD scares are as fake and bogus as they were in the run-up to the brutal, deadly, and destructive invasion and war of aggression against Iraq — after the 11 years of sanctions and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children had failed to bring about regime change.
What happens if the parents of Manoucherhr Esmaili-Liousi or other people commit a terrorist attack on the United States in retaliation for the killing of the boy? We all know what will happen. U.S. officials will immediately proclaim, “We’ve been attacked! We’ve been attacked! We’re innocent! We love democracy! This is another day that will live in infamy! The terrorists just hate us for our freedom and values! Alas, we must now invade and and occupy more countries. And unfortunately we must now continue the indefinite suspension of the civil liberties of the American people, to keep them safe and to protect national security.”