Washington, DC – 29 organizations called on the Senate today to pass a key amendment, introduced by Representative Chuy Garcia’s (IL-04) and passed by the House, to investigate the effectiveness and humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions. The amendment has passed the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for three consecutive years.
U.S. foreign policy has become increasingly reliant on economic sanctions, yet policymakers lack data that report their effectiveness in safeguarding American interests and the humanitarian consequences that must factor into policymakers’ considerations.
In the case of Iran, it has been widely reported that “maximum-pressure” sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, and which have largely continued under President Biden, have undermined access to medicine and humanitarian goods while devastating Iran’s middle class. While Iran was an early epicenter for Covid-19, and despite humanitarian exemptions on paper, broad-based sanctions limited the flow of vital PPE. In addition to the costly humanitarian impacts, these sanctions have failed to change Iran’s behavior and likely have exacerbated Iranian policies against U.S. interests — as Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price claimed that between 2019 and 2020 attacks on American interests by Iranian-backed groups increased 400%.
Representative Garcia’s amendment to require the Government Accountability Office to research and compile relevant data so that policymakers understand the full costs and benefits of sanctions is a crucial first step to curbing the harm faced by ordinary citizens of heavily sanctioned countries and ensuring U.S. policies are actually achieving their end goals. The Senate must include this amendment in this year’s NDAA and send it to President Biden’s desk for signature.Back to top