Monday , 28 November 2022

Economic profit or human rights? Is this serious business?

When Western countries joined in on imposing strict sanctions on Iran due to their violations of human rights and the regime’s continuous disregard of accountability or reform one would expect that both regulations and the companies’ moral compass would abide by the rules of sanctions. But apparently that is not the case. Reports show that analyzed downed Iranian drones in Ukraine contain of Western-made and even Israeli components. Ukrainian experts have concluded that 75% of the components in the drones are US made and this despite of one of the most strict sanctions against arm sales to the Iranian regime held by the US.

This photograph released by the Ukrainian military’s Strategic Communications Directorate shows the wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupiansk, Ukraine. (Ukrainian military’s Strategic Communications Directorate via AP, File)

Other than affecting the world at large by helping the Iranian regime assisting Putin in his war with Ukraine the breaching of sanctions also affects every Iranian who is risking his/her life by taking to the streets and protesting against their oppressor. The continuous supply of video and photo surveillance equipment to the IRGC is crucial in their hunt and crackdown of protesters during these nationwide demonstrations that have paralyzed the country. CCTV photos of protesters are published on a regular basis by state owned media and the audience is asked to report and identify protesters to the authorities. Surveillance equipment and various other anti-riot equipment ranging from helmets, drones, batons and shotguns are supplied to the regime by companies from all over the world despite sanctions. These businesses are dealing with large amounts of money at the expense of protesters’ suppression, arrests, torture and even deaths.

Iranians protesting and raising their voices for human rights.

Not abiding by regulations and breaching of sanctions should be met with forceful actions. It comes as no surprise that the largest supplier of surveillance equipment and anti-riot tools to the Iranian regime is China but private companies from Western countries are also represented in these trades. Imposing a series of new sanctions will hardly change anything if the consequences of breaching sanctions are not severe enough and more importantly if the policies around the investigation and reporting of sanction breaches are as slow-moving as they currently are. There is clearly an urgent need of improved and appropriate screening procedures of companies trading with authoritarian regimes since the business of making money sadly is more prioritized than defending human rights.