US Sanctions: Weapons of War by Other Means on Targeted Nations


When unilaterally imposed by one nation on others, sanctions have no legal validity.

Along with color revolutions, old-fashioned coups, and assassinations, US sanctions are a favored tactic.

When imposed, they’re all about seeking to weaken nations economically.

They also aim to impose hardships on their people — wanting them and targeted nations suffocated into submission to Washington’s will.

In 1996, the Vienna-based International Progress Organization called sanctions “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”

Despite their repeated use by the US throughout the post-WW II periods, they consistently fail to achieve their objectives.

Earlier, establishment Brookings called their use “little more than expressions of US preferences that hurt American economic interests without changing the target’s behavior,” adding:

Their “widespread use…constitutes one of the paradoxes of contemporary American foreign policy.”

Despite their illegality and ineffectiveness, they’re imposed time and again on numerous countries.

According to international security affairs expert Professor Robert Pape, sanctions are only effective around 5% of the time.

“The key key reason that sanctions fail is that modern states are not fragile,” he argued, adding:

“Nationalism often makes states and societies willing to endure considerable punishment rather than abandon their national interests.”

“States involved in coercive disputes often accept high costs, including civilian suffering, to achieve their objectives.”

“Even in the weakest and most fractured states, external pressure is more likely to enhance the nationalist legitimacy of rulers than to undermine it.”

Increased multi-world polarity weakens the ability of a nation like the US to get widespread support among nation states for its hegemonic agenda.

China and Russia notably pursue their own domestic and geopolitical aims independently.

Both nations have close ties to Iran politically and economically. They oppose unilateral use of sanctions by any nations to achieve geopolitical aims.

On October 6, China’s UN envoy Zhang Jun — along with his counterparts from over two dozen other nations — issued a joint statement against sanctions, saying the following:

“We continue to witness the application of unilateral coercive measures, which are contrary to the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and international law, multilateralism and the basic norms of international relations.”

He stressed that these measures violate human rights of populations in targeted countries — notably women, children, the elderly and infirm, adding:

The Trump regime “is maliciously tightening US illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it.”

“The world can no longer be silent as US economic terrorism is supplanted by its medical terrorism.”

On Thursday, the Trump regime imposed illegal sanctions on 18 more Iranian banks, a Treasury Department statement saying:

Its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “sanctioned 16 Iranian banks for operating in Iran’s financial sector and one bank for being owned or controlled by a sanctioned Iranian bank.”

“Additionally, today’s action includes the designation of an Iranian military-affiliated bank under Treasury’s counter-proliferation authority.”

“Our sanctions programs will continue until Iran stops its support of terrorist activities (sic) and ends its nuclear programs (sic).”

Fact: State terrorism is official US policy — waged domestically and worldwide against targeted nations.

Fact: Iran is in the forefront of combatting US-sponsored terrorism in Syria and regionally.

Fact: In January, the Trump regime assassinated Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani — along with deputy head of (Iraq’s PMU) Hashed, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

They were killed in cold blood because of their effectiveness in combatting US-supported ISIS in Iraq.

Fact: Iran’s legitimate nuclear program has no military component — affirmed repeatedly by IAEA inspectors.

Fact: Israel is the region’s only nuclear armed and dangerous nation — its illicit program supported by both right wings of the US war party.

The OFAC statement falsely said its action against Iranian banks “allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people (sic).”

Reality is polar opposite the above deception.

US policy toward Iran and other independent nations it doesn’t control aims to immiserate and suffocate their people into submitting to its imperial will.

Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said “(w)hatever the Americans are saying about their sanctions not affecting humanitarian items, it’s just a lie… It’s basically medical terrorism.”

In response to sanctions imposed on Thursday, Zarif slammed what he called the latest diabolical “US regime (plot) to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine,” adding:

“Conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity.”

“Iranians will survive this latest of cruelties. Culprits & enablers—who block our money—will face justice.”

On Tuesday, Iranian President Rouhani called on the world community to reject illegal US sanctions — calling its policy “economic war” on targeted nations.

In September, he said

“(t)he US can impose neither negotiations nor war on us. (T)oday is the time to say ‘no’ to (its) bullying and arrogance.”

Separately, Iranian First Vice-President Ishaq Jahangiri said the goal of US sanctions is “to bring about the collapse of Iran’s economy but the government, through planning, did not allow them to achieve their goal.”

“Fortunately, the country’s economy is still kept afloat.”

US war on Iran by other means has been ongoing since its 1979 revolution — ending a generation of US/UK imposed fascist tyranny.

Everything thrown at the Islamic Republic by Washington to return the country to client state status failed — including Trump regime “maximum pressure.”

US imperial arrogance, its unilateralism, and wars on humanity are self-defeating over time — contributing to its decline.

Like earlier failed empires, the US imperial project one day will join them in history’s dustbin where it belongs.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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