Peace Action Maine's Mission:
We are a voice of education and a center for people committed to disarmament and creative responses to conflict.

Peace Action Maine's Mission:
We are a voice of education and a center for people committed to disarmament and creative responses to conflict.

Peace Action Maine has emailed and tweeted to @SenAngusKing, @SenSusanCollins, @chelliepingree and @RepGolden asking for them to sign the letter below. New sanctions in the midst of a pandemic reach a new level on inhumanity. NYT Corona Crisis is Time to Ease Sanctions.

Sign-On Letter: Iran Needs Sanctions Relief During the Coronavirus Crisis

Sending Office: Honorable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


As Iran faces medical supply shortages due to sanctions, urge the Trump Administration to grant temporary sanctions relief

Deadline extended....

Current bicameral signers (24): Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, Omar, Warren, Huffman, Markey, Castro, Pressley, Lee, Tlaib, McGovern, Grijalva, Pocan, Beyer, Jayapal, Rush, DeFazio, Khanna, Johnson, Foster, Norton, Connolly, Watson Coleman, Davis, Garcia, Velazquez

Endorsing Organizations:  Just Foreign Policy, J Street, National Iranian American Council, Win Without War, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Ploughshares Fund, Indivisible, Peace Action

Dear Colleague,

We requestfully request that you add your name to this urgent bicameral sign-on letter to the Trump Administration, urging them to follow the example set by the Bush and Obama Administrations and grant temporary sanctions relief for Iran as they confront the coronavirus crisis.

Iran has been among the hardest hit of any country, with conservative estimates putting the toll well over 1,500 dead and 20,000 infected. Experts agree that the sanctions have severely harmed their ability to address the crisis.  According to Human Rights Watch, the United States ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has “drastically constrained the ability of Iranian entities to finance humanitarian imports, including vital medicines and medical equipment.” 

The UK government recently added its voice to growing international calls for sanctions relief, but the Trump Administration instead announced additional sanctions on Iran on March 18. 

The letter urges the Administration to enact substantial temporary sanctions relief, including lifting sanctions impacting civilian industries, Iran’s banking sector, and exports of oil, all of which inhibit the delivery of humanitarian goods and endanger the Iranian people’s survival.  It also asks the Administration to consider temporary suspension for other sanctioned countries that are facing outbreaks.

For more information, or to add your name to this letter, please contact Claudia Pagon-Marchena in Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 5-3965). 


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ilhan Omar Jared Huffman Joaquin Castro

Members of Congress

Dear Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Mnuchin,

The spread of coronavirus around the globe poses a severe threat to the United States and necessitates a comprehensive global response. As a result, we believe far more action is needed to contain and treat Coronavirus in Iran, which has emerged as an epicenter of the virus. While the Iranian government’s official statistics say that [over 1,500 have died and 20,000 have been infected], it is likely that the virus has spread much further. 

With neighboring countries ravaged by war, medical systems either in disarray and underfunded, and the constant migration of pilgrims and immigrant workers, the virus’ further spread in the Middle East poses additional serious risk to both human life and to broader regional economic and political stability, which may in turn negatively impact the economic and security interests of the US and our allies. For instance, there are reports that the virus is spreading from Iran to Afghanistan, endangering our troops and mission in that country.  Longtime foe of Iran, the United Arab Emirates, has recognized the potential negative impact of the Coronavirus crisis in Iran and has taken an active role in facilitating humanitarian aid shipments to Tehran.

The Iranian government has made numerous errors in their handling of the crisis, including by failing to act swiftly or take sufficient quarantine measures. However, sweeping U.S. sanctions have also harmed Iran’s public health sector by limiting their ability to import medical devices and medicine manufactured in the West. 

According to an October 2019 Human Rights Watch report, the United States ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has “drastically constrained the ability of Iranian entities to finance humanitarian imports, including vital medicines and medical equipment.” With so many restrictions and sanctions to contend with, Iran’s medical industry has been limited in its ability to purchase equipment rapidly and adapt to changing circumstances on the ground in fighting the pandemic. 

Additionally, by targeting an entire economy that supports more than 80 million people, U.S. sanctions make it harder for ordinary Iranians to obtain basic necessities like food and hygienic supplies that they need to survive. 

We support the Treasury Department’s decision to exempt humanitarian trade involving the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) from sanctions, which partially reversed a deeply concerning move in September. This humanitarian trade exemption reflects an understanding that the spread of Coronavirus represents a shared threat and that U.S. sanctions were complicating efforts to get humanitarian supplies to the Iranian people. We also support the U.S. offer of direct aid to Iran to combat the spread of the virus.

However, we were deeply concerned by the decision to impose new sanctions against Iran on March 18. Such a decision is both callous and short-sighted in light of the seriousness of the crisis and the shared nature of the threat. On the same day, the United Kingdom joined other countries around the world in voicing support for sanctions relief. 

Rather than continue to pile on sanctions in the Iranian people’s hour of need, we urge you to substantially suspend sanctions on Iran in a humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people to better enable them to fight the virus. Sanctions relief should encompass major sectors of the Iranian economy, including those impacting civilian industries, Iran’s banking sector and exports of oil, and should last for at least as long as health experts believe the crisis will continue. Failure to do so risks inhibiting the delivery of key humanitarian goods, and putting the Iranian people into further health and economic peril. We further urge you to work closely with domestic and international commercial and financial actors as well as partner governments in order to ensure that there is a practically accessible channel for the export of medical goods to Iran.

Additionally, we encourage the U.S. to find a way to deliver aid directly to the Iranian people to support the Iranian people’s fight against Coronavirus, as many other nations have done. There is precedent for both of these steps, as the George W. Bush administration eased sanctions and delivered aid to Iran following a deadly earthquake near Bam in 2003.

We should also consider suspending sanctions in other countries facing outbreaks to reduce human suffering. 

Pandemics know no borders. Allowing this crisis to become more dire in Iran threatens significant harm not only to the people of Iran but also to people in the United States and around the world. The U.S. should not let our many disputes with the government of Iran or others stand in the way of actions that can materially help innocent people weather a pandemic. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response.


[Members of Congress]

Recent Issues

Sept. 3 Professor Douglas Allen Dialogue on Nonviolence

Aug 24, 2021
Please find attached the zoom link along with the posters of the International Conference on Revisiting Gandhian Perspectives on Development: Reflections on Culture, Society and Politics, scheduled on the 3rd and 4th of September, 2021. Kindly refer…

German Chancellor Merkel: Mainers: #TRIPSwaiver !

Jul 08, 2021
TRIPS 5waiver
Protest Timed with German Chancellor Merkel’s Visit to the United States; Germany Is Blocking Global Policy Change Needed to Increase Vaccine ProductionGermany is one of the last holdouts against a global agreement to temporarily waive intellectual…

Biden Requests Billions for Nukes

Jun 02, 2021“Last Friday, the Biden administration released its Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, totaling $753 billion for national defense spending, including $43.2 billion for…

Rally Friday May 21 NOON downtown Portland Maine

May 19, 2021
TIME TO STAND UP BY SHOWING UP Friends, Rallies have been happening all over the planet in support of Palestinians and in protest against Israel's brutal attack which has killed over 200, 40% of whom are women and children! Our Rally: This Friday,…

Call Biden Today!: Maine Voices For Palestinian Rights

May 18, 2021
From Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights: Dear Friends, As civilian casualties mount in Gaza, the self-professed "Catholic Zionist" Joe Biden proclaims "Israel's right to defend itself." Willful blindness to the…

For Peace, End U.S.-South Korea Military Exercises

Mar 02, 2021 friend Hyun Lee has invited us to join the Global Rally and Petition from Feb 24-March 10 to suspend the annual US-South Korea War…

For Peace in Korea, No More War Drills!

Feb 03, 2021
No War DrillsWEB webinar flyer
Webinar: For Peace in Korea, No More War Drills!Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 8pm ET l 5pm PTRegistration link: (and location of flier for this program) Wooksik Cheong,…

No on Haines for Director of National Intelligence!

Jan 04, 2021
Maine Peace Activists: Tell King & Collins: No on Haines! As a Maine peace activist, you can send a powerful message to Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who BOTH serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, slated to hold…

#ReclaimArmisticeDay Maine VfP

Nov 11, 2020
aaaWEBReclaimArmisticeIMG 2830 16
Armistice Day was born and was designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated."

Moving the money from the Pentagon to Health Care

Oct 31, 2020
Lee and Pocan, who both sit on the House Appropriations Committee, are spearheading a new Defense Spending Reduction Caucus to build "critical mass" among lawmakers to cut defense spending and redirect the money toward domestic priorities, a…

Estimate for nukes jumps $10 billion

Oct 20, 2020
Screenshot 2020 10 20 BPMYDDH2YZCZDLCUACQ4N6MJSA jpg WEBP Image 1200 797 pixels
Estimate of new nukes increases $10 BILLION from 4 years ago to-replace-minuteman-3-arsenal-increases-to-958b/

START treaty- importance of extending START!

Oct 06, 2020
NewSTART SSBN735 Guam103116 768x576
Just four months before the New START treaty is set to expire, the latest set of so-called aggregate data published by the State Department shows the treaty is working and that both countries – despite tense military and political rhetoric – are…

Costs of War: 37 million Displaced due to US GWOT

Sep 08, 2020
Original Paper from the Costs of War Project: The New York Times:At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by…

Korean War: 70 years today. Show support tonight at 8 pm

Jun 24, 2020
Bruce Cumings webinar 3 3
Korea: The Unknown War WebinarWe invite our members to KoreaPeaceNow! event-in solidarity. On the 70th anniversary of what is officially known as the start of the Korean War, preeminent Korea historian Bruce Cumings…

Sally Breen: Peace Supper Talk 2011

Mar 24, 2020
PEACE SUPPER TALK (purchase Sally's autobiography from BlurbBooks) By Sally BreenWoodfords Congregational ChurchMay 7, 2011 (shared by Sally July 17, 2014, email)Come out on stage and put on my cowboy hat and my apron: Howdy y’all. My name is Sally…