March 31, 2020

Warren Joins Senate and House Colleagues in Calling for U.S. to Lift Sanctions as Iran Reels from Coronavirus

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC -- United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined her Senate and House colleagues Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and nearly three dozen lawmakers in urging the Trump Administration to ease sanctions against Iran, as the country suffers from a major humanitarian crisis triggered by COVID-19. The letter comes just two weeks after the Trump Administration levied additional sanctions against Iran in the midst of the pandemic, which has to date killed more than 2,600 Iranians.

“Rather than continue to invoke new sanctions in the Iranian people’s hour of need, we urge you to substantially suspend sanctions on Iran during this global public health emergency in a humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people to better enable them to fight the virus,” the letter reads. “Additionally, we encourage the U.S. to find a way to deliver aid directly to the Iranian people to support the Iranian people’s fight against Coronavirus, as many other nations have done. There is precedent for both of these steps, as the George W. Bush administration eased sanctions and delivered aid to Iran following a deadly earthquake near Bam in 2003,” the members of Congress conclude.

Additional signatories include Representatives Pressley (D-Mass.), Pocan (D-Wis.), Tlaib (D-Mich.), Grijalva (D-Ariz.), McGovern (D-Mass.), Beyer (D-Va.), Jayapal (D-Wash.), Rush (D-Ill.), DeFazio (D-Ore.), Khanna (D-Calif.), Johnson (D-Ga.), Foster (D-Ill.), Norton (D-DC), Connolly (D-Va.), Watson-Coleman (D-N.J.), Davis (D-Ill.), Garcia (D-Ill.), Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Haaland (D-N.M.), Welch (D-Vt.), DeGette (D-Colo.), Eshoo (D-Calif.), Pingree (D-Maine), Dingell (D-Mich.), and Jackson Lee (D-Texas).

Endorsing organizations include: Just Foreign Policy, J Street, National Iranian American Council, Win Without War, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Ploughshares Fund, Indivisible, Peace Action, Demand Progress, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Project Blueprint, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), and No War Campaign.

Senator Warren has been concerned about the impact of sanctions on the Iran people. Prior to today’s letter, Senator Warren sent a letter to the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State in February expressing concern about the coronavirus outbreak in Iran and demanding answers about the impact of U.S. sanctions on humanitarian transactions that would help counter and contain the spread of the disease in that country.