March 20, 2020
News Press Release

ZOA Condemns Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Others for Demanding Ending Iran Sanctions

Sanders & Omar falsely use Coronavirus as Pretext despite Iran Rejecting U.S. Offer to Help

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson Esq., released the following statement:

In late February, the U.S. administration offered U.S. assistance to combat the anti-American, Israel-hating Islamic Republic of Iran’s coronavirus outbreak. The Iranian regime promptly rejected the U.S. offer.  Moreover, U.S. sanctions exempt (and permit) imports of medical supplies to Iran.  (See U.S. Treasury Guidance Related to Humanitarian Assistance with Regard to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Iran.)  It is thus stunningly duplicitous that Iran, Iranian agents and far-left socialist and extremist U.S. politicians are now using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to renew their dangerous demands to end the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran – sanctions designed to curb Iran’s ongoing terror, nuclear and missile activities.   

This week, socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) used the coronavirus crisis to urge lifting financial sanctions on Iran.  Rep. Jo Khanna (D-CA) (Sanders’ campaign national co-chair) demanded unconditional humanitarian aid to the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Both politicians ignored that the U.S. administration previously offered humanitarian aid.  

Also this week, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), an extremist Sanders’ supporter and surrogate, used the coronavirus pandemic to renew her pre-coronavirus calls to end sanctions on Iran.  Omar’s earlier calls included denouncing sanctions against Iran on January 8, saying “sanctions are economic warfare,” and co-leading a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin in December criticizing U.S. sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank. (Omar also denounced sanctions on Communist Venezuela and Cuba.)

Using the same approach as Ilhan Omar, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote to the UN Secretary-General on March 12 (after Iran rejected assistance from the U.S.).  Zarif falsely accused the U.S. of “holding medicine for Iranians for ransom,” and demanded that the U.S. must “immediately halt its campaign of economic terrorism against the Iranian people and lift all sanctions it has illegally imposed on [Iran].”   

Why are Omar and Sanders so pre-occupied with ending sanctions on the Islamic Iranian terror regime, that they will use any false pretext, parroting the Iranian regime?  

Concerns have been raised recently about Omar and the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC).  NIAC is often described as the Iranian regime’s American lobbying arm; it consistently fights against sanctions on Iran.  NIAC tweeted out Omar’s renewed calls to suspend sanctions on Iran, and previously lauded Omar’s letter to Mnuchin.  Omar’s Senior Legislative Assistant Mahyar Sorour in 2019 was simultaneously a NIAC leadership board candidate.

U.S. sanctions properly target Iran’s terrorist arms such as the IRGC, and the industries (petroleum, metals, banking) used to finance Iran’s continuing worldwide terrorism and missile activities.  Just a few days ago, Iranian-backed forces shot Katyusha rockets at the housing units at Camp Taji, in Iraq, injuring 3 Americans and several Iraqis, necessitating sanctions in response. And Iran continues to promote rallies proclaiming “death to America and death to Israel.”

Iran could easily end all sanctions by ceasing its malign, violent, and nuclear-bomb activities.  No American politician should adopt Iran’s strategy of using the coronavirus outbreak to end all sanctions on Iran – while Iran continues to launch rockets at Americans and finance terror throughout the world and moving forward with their nuclear program.