Recently 55 political prisoners and hundreds of Iranians who are part of civil society have written letters to President Obama urging him to lift the crippling sanctions on Iran. Here is an excerpt from their letter:
"We, a group of Iranian political and human rights activists, academics, and students, are writing this letter to declare our support for the points raised by these political prisoners and to call on all parties involved to work towards the elimination of sanctions and the lowering of tensions between Iran and the United States. As the recent elections demonstrated, these are also the primary concerns of the majority of the citizens of Iran.The fifty-five political prisoners are a diverse group who represent a large segment of Iran’s democratic movement. In the letter they have articulated the demands of the majority of Iranians when they stated that “the sanctions have now turned into a collective punishment imposed on the Iranian people as a whole, not the government only.” The Iranian people believe the sanctions are unjustified and are in large part responsible for their economic suffering. They see themselves as victims of the tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Economic sanctions, particularly those imposed unilaterally by the United States, have taken a terrible toll on the Iranian people’s standard of living. The precipitous drop in oil revenues, the destruction of a large swath of Iranian industry, rampant inflation, and widespread unemployment, while partly a result of economic mismanagement by the Iranian government, have been significantly worsened by the sanctions. Shortage of medicine in particular is a critical problem. Although medicine is not specifically restricted by sanctions, the price of medicine has increased astronomically and many life-saving drugs are extremely hard to obtain because international banks refuse to engage in financial transactions with Iran."
These Iranian change makers have all worked in some way for a freer and more just Iran. Often they've had to face brutal government suppression - they're asking us to stand by them in advocating the removal of sanctions that are hurting everyday Iranian - will you heed their call?