Urging Trump Administration to Ease Iran Sanctions

Calling on Trump to loosen the administration’s crippling sanctions regime on Iran during COVID-19 Pandemic.

March 20, 2020

In light of the increasingly dire situation in Iran as the country combats the COVID-19 pandemic, we have joined NIAC Action and 25 other organizations – including J Street, Truman National Security Project, MoveOn, Win Without War and Ploughshares Fund – in calling on President Trump, Sec. Mnuchin, and Sec. Pompeo to loosen the administration’s crippling sanctions regime on Iran for 120 days in order to aid the Iranian people’s fight against the virus.  


March 20, 2020

Dear President Trump, Sec. Mnuchin and Sec. Pompeo,

Containing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic will require a global effort with nations deploying all available resources at their disposal. Iran has become an epicenter for the outbreak, with 1,433 deaths and nearly 20,000 infected. To help stem the continued spread of the virus inside Iran and beyond, we urge you to issue a time-bound suspension of those U.S. sanctions that make it harder for ordinary Iranians to secure basic goods and services to weather the crisis. Doing so would not just serve U.S. interests in helping contain the further spread of the virus, but would also be a powerful humanitarian gesture to the more than 80 million Iranians suffering under the pandemic.

We appreciate that some limited steps have already been taken, including licensing humanitarian trade with the Central Bank of Iran and encouraging foreign banks and governments to establish humanitarian channels with Iran. Yet, sanctions have harmed the public health sector in Iran by slowing or entirely blocking the sale of medicine, respirators, and hygienic supplies needed to mitigate the epidemic, and broad sectoral sanctions continue to negatively impact ordinary Iranians by shuttering civilian-owned businesses and decimating the value of the rial, making it harder to procure food, medicine, and other basic needs.

As a result, we recommend suspending many of the sanctions imposed by your administration since May 2018 for a period of at least 120 days, including those sanctions affecting Iran’s financial and oil sectors and its civilian industries. Doing so would offer significant relief for the Iranian people at a critical time.

COVID-19 is a shared threat, requiring global solutions. Easing sanctions is one simple step that can be taken to serve the interests of the Iranian people and public health across the globe.


American Friends Service Committee

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)


Council for a Livable World

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Defending Rights & Dissent

Demand Progress Education Fund

Foreign Policy for America

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Greenpeace USA


Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project

J Street

Just Foreign Policy


Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

National Iranian American Council Action (NIAC Action)

Peace Corps Iran Association

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Ploughshares Fund

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Progress America

Project South

Project Blueprint

Truman Center for National Security

Win Without War

Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)




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