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ACTION ALERT: Correcting the Record: How US Sanctions Hurt Iranian Freedoms


October 5, 2013
Sara Haghdoosti / MoveOn Public Petition

Rachel Maddow recently suggested that US sanctions were responsible for Iran's protest movements. The truth is, sanctions undercut civil society. Sanctions have closed reformist websites, made it harder for change makers to obtain anti-virus software to protect against cyber government attacks, and have hindered communication by increasing the cost of printing paper. Iranian activists who are on the forefront of change all have come out against sanctions.

http://www.berim.org/maddow

(October 4, 2013) -- Rachel Maddow is a fantastic journalist, but last week my jaw dropped when she said that international sanctions had caused the Iranian people to fight for change. That's just wrong.

Many of us still remember the 2009 protests in Iran, which predate President Obama's escalated sanctions. That was when millions of people took to the streets demanding that their votes be counted after the election was stolen from them. Hundreds of ordinary Iranians were arrested and some even lost their lives standing up for what they believed in.

This year, before the election Iranians weren't on the streets calling for an end to the sanctions -- they were calling for freedom for all political prisoners.

Fortunately, Rachel Maddow is fair-minded and she has a fantastic segment on her MSNBC show that's all about getting to the truth behind headlines, including the stories of real people behind the issues.

I know that if she heard the real stories of the thousands of everyday Iranians who have been organizing for change in Iran for years, she'd understand that sanctions only inspire hunger, sickness and want--not change. In fact, they make change and protest even harder.

Working together, we can … share the real stories of change makers in Iran and correct the record on sanctions.

Can you add your voice to the campaign?

Sanctions have shut down reformist websites in Iran, made it harder for change makers to access anti virus software to protect themselves from cyber government attacks, and have even hindered the spread of ideas by increasing the cost of books*.

Civil society in Iran, that is student organizers, unionists and women's advocates -- the people who are on the forefront of change, have come out against sanctions. Will you stand with them and ask Rachel to share the stories about how sanctions are making it harder for Iranian change makers to be effective?

What did Rachel say exactly? Here's her quote: "If the intended effect (of sanctions) was to make life so miserable for ordinary people in Iran, as to make them … put pressure on their government for change; well that happened." The thing is, Iranians have been putting pressure on their government for change long before President Obama escalated the sanctions.

Sanctions have led to a medicine shortage in Iran, have caused a huge increase in the price of food and contributed to a rise in unemployment. Given the destruction sanctions have caused, we can't lend the policy our support based on false premises.

*1) "US Iran Sanctions Force Closure of Opposition Leader's Website," Reuters.

2) "Paper Prices and Unintended Consequences: How sanctions have limited access to independent publications in Iran," Iran Media Research.

3) "Confusing Sanctions Are Aiding Government Repression," Slate.com

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