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Iran: Those who are really suffering from those sanctions
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist and media correspondent.
In a piece on Information Clearing House, he details who the reall sufferers are from the sanctions imposed on Iran notably by the US and European governments. It will be recalled that when it was revealed that sanctions against Iraq had caused the deaths of some 500,000 children that then US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was totally unmoved, and in effect, shrugged her shoulders. So much for a humanitarian approach!
"What the Western officials say in public is that the sanctions are aimed at punishing the Iranian government and dissuading it from working toward acquiring nuclear weapons. What takes place in reality, however, is that the "smart" sanctions have directly come down like a ton of bricks on the Iranian people, making their life an arduous odyssey of struggling for survival in an ailing economy.The sanctions have devastated the daily life of ordinary Iranian people by bringing the price of goods to a skyrocketing height, making the students abroad unable to get financial assistance from their parents in Iran, rendering it impossible for the private companies to do international transactions and making it extremely difficult for Iranians to get visa for traveling to foreign countries. The "smart sanctions" even include a ban on the importing of medicine and foodstuff from the other nations to Iran.
In the previous weeks, I have been arguing with my editors in some of the American political journals to convince them that certain sensitive medicines as well as agricultural goods could not make their way to Iran as a result of sanctions. They wouldn't accept, telling me that such transactions were smoothly taking place. But now, I think they have credible evidence available, confirming that the hard-hitting sanctions are destroying the daily life of the poor, defenseless Iranians who should pay the price for the West's and Israel's animosity with their government."
"Denmark's democracy is in rude health while the political systems of Britain and France have some major shortcomings, according to a new Swiss-German study ranking the quality of democracy in 30 nations. Germany achieves a respectable score but falls short of a top 10 slot.
Germany is more democratic than France, Britain and even Switzerland, according to a study released last week by the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), a research institute funded by the German government.
The 'democracy barometer' measures how well 30 established democracies implement the principles of freedom and equality. Denmark gets top marks, while Britain and France are found wanting, ranking 26th and 27th respectively. Costa Rica came last, just behind South Africa and Poland.