NCRI - Apologists for the Iranian Regime are claiming that US sanctions are stopping humanitarian aid from reaching the victims of this month’s earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border but this is simply not true.
On Sunday, November 12, a massive earthquake hit the border region leaving hundreds dead and thousands wounded, and hundreds of thousands homeless. It is no less than a nationwide crisis.
Shortly after, Trita Parsi, the president of National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which is effectively a mouthpiece for the Regime, took advantage of the disaster to suit his own political agenda.
He said: "If sanctions are really hindering emergency aid after an earthquake, I think that really shows the problematic aspect of the sanctions.”
While it is true that aid is not being distributed to the affected people, it is not due to US sanctions. The sanctions relief granted under the 2015 nuclear deal was funnelled into the army and Iran's expansionist policies, meaning that in times of crisis, the Iranian people are left to fend for themselves.
Indeed, images and videos from the devastated areas show victims left to spend the night in freezing temperatures without so much as tents or blankets. In one of many videos criticising the Regime, a father whose son was crushed in the rubble accuses the Regime of sending aid abroad but neglecting its own people.
One member of the Regime’s Parliament from Kermanshah, who puts the death toll at over 1,000, reported that only 10% of the affected areas have received the smallest amount of help.
In response to the quake, the Regime sent in their infamous Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) militia but not to distribute aid, as a country’s army often does in disasters, but to prevent protests. They even declared the rescue operation finished on the second day after the quake.
The Iranian Regime is responsible for the extent of the disaster (by building substandard houses in the first place) and for not getting aid to the victims (because they are more concerned with suppressing social protests than helping their own people).
Amir Basiri, a human rights activist, wrote on the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog: “Of course, none of this matters to Parsi and his ilk, whose sole purpose is to justify the crimes of the Iranian regime. In this regard, they are shamelessly trying to use the people’s suffering as an excuse to push for the lifting of pressure from a regime whose only role was exacerbating an already bad situation.”
While the Regime was reluctant to help, the people of Iran were digging through rubble in attempts to find survivors, providing food and drink to the now-homeless, and attempting to help each other. The Regime was so scared that this could turn into a riot that they order the people back to their homes and confiscated individual aid parcels, according to a report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The NCRI report read: “If the regime did not steal people's aid and did not obstruct their distribution, the earthquake problem would be solved.”