News & Politics

Omar: The 'Blame Is on Us' for 'Acceleration' of Suffering in Iran, Venezuela

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Rep. Ilhan Omar said the “blame” for the “acceleration” of poor conditions in Iran and Venezuela is on the United States because of the economic sanctions the government has imposed against those countries.

“The regime in Venezuela is to be blamed for this condition but the acceleration of these conditions, that blame is on us and the same is true for Iran,” Omar said at the recent Netroots conference in Philadelphia. “So if we do want to be a helpful ally to people who are suffering around the world then we cannot continue to cause an acceleration in their suffering.”

Other nations have imposed sanctions on the Maduro regime in Venezuela including Canada, Panama, Mexico, the European Union and Switzerland. The United Nations sanctions against Iran were lifted in 2016 but the Trump administration imposed new sanctions after it decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

“There is space for us to use sanctions to move a country to do what we want it to do but these are not the kind of sanctions we impose on countries we do not like, right, countries we don’t like — its leaders, we don’t like its values or we don’t think they are our values so we put crippling sanctions on them — that does not change any behavior in that country,” Omar said at the conference.

“It has never changed a single behavior in Cuba. It’s not changing a behavior in Venezuela and it certainly never is going to have changes in behavior in Iran. The only thing these kind of sanctions that we are so accustomed to do is they cause harm to the people that we say we want to help,” she added.

Omar continued, “These sanctions do not have an impact on the dictators that run these countries or its system. They have an impact on the people and so I am quite opposed to the way we use sanctions in this country and the end goal which is so different than what we say and what we share with the public and the continuation of horror, right, the horrors that these sanctions cause around the world.”