Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Idiotic Consequence of Anti-Iran Sanctions

I always maintain that those who push for sanctions against Iran (or any other country for that matter) on the basis that sanctions will punish the governments and not the people are either foolish or blatant liars. In my experience, almost all who offer that logic in promoting sanctions are the latter.

Without exception, sanctions primarily and disproportionately hurt the civilian population. Those who deviously promote sanctions as a deterrent of governments know very well that it is the people that will be hurt, and this is in fact what they want: unhappy, ailing, poor, miserable populations. This allows them to hit two birds with one stone: they can say "oh look how poorly government X manages its affairs, it's people are unhappy, ailing, poor and miserable" and they also believe that such populations are more likely to overthrow government X, thus saving them the trouble of ground invasions.

Today, I just want to point to one of the many idiotic consequences of sanctions, and since Mr. Obama renewed sanctions on Iran mere days before his New Year's Address to Iran, I think this should become a regular feature of this blog.

I saw on a Persian friendfeed thread today that someone in Iran was unable to access
the streaming music site Pandora.com and received the following message:

We believe that you are in Islamic Republic of Iran (your IP address appears to be 94.185.154.82). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com

How infuriating and frustrating is that? When the Iranian government blocks access to sites like facebook or youtube, all hell breaks loose and accusations fly that the government is trying to block "western culture" and "western influence." But when a citizen in Iran is blocked by those who operate in the so-called free market and the free world, shouldn't there be outrage directed at them as well?

Someone with legal expertise please take this on. I remember back when Yahoo or Hotmail was also pulling something similar where they were denying Iran residents access to their accounts for a while, so perhaps Pandora can be convinced using whatever argument was employed in getting these others to change their foolish policy. In the meantime, if you hear of other sanction-related consequences that hurt the Iranian citizenry--whether it is small annoyances or major problems--please let me know the details.