A diverse group of academics, researchers and NGO leaders have signed the following open letter addressed to the leaders of the P4+1 countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia) and US lawmakers.

Several distinguished academics including Prof. Noam Chomsky have signed this letter.

The letter was drafted and coordinated by the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy.

For academics/researchers/NGO leaders: If you’d like to add your name to this letter, please click on the following link before March 31, 2020.


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This week, confirmed infections of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 surpassed 586,000 worldwide and global deaths rose past 26,800 as the outbreak continues to spread across the Middle East, Europe, and North America. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide deaths have tripled while global cases have more than doubled in the past week.

Iran is among the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, with over 2,300 deaths and 32,000 cases of infections from the COVID-19. It is also the only country that is dealing with this level of cases while living under severe economic sanctions.

In 2018, the Trump administration imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran and implemented a policy of maximum pressure after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

While on paper the US administration has provided humanitarian exemptions in its sanctions regime, reports from Iranian civil society, international aid organizations, and human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, show a different reality on the ground as US sanctions, including banking restrictions, have severely impacted Iranians’ access to medical equipment and essential medicine.

In recent weeks, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Pakistan have asked the U.S to ease sanctions on Iran during this unprecedented global pandemic. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has ignored these requests and instead have imposed even more sanctions on the country.

We believe that it is not only unjust to leave Iranian people alone in this global crisis, but is indeed a violation of Iranians’ inalienable rights to health and access to medical care. Furthermore, we believe that this pandemic is a shared global threat and it could only be defeated when all countries and people come together and support one another.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on all members of the United Nations Security Council to act in compliance with international law and UNSC resolution 2231 and to support Iranian people in their fight against this global pandemic.

We also urge the US lawmakers to pressure the Trump administration to immediately lift all sanctions that are impeding Iran’s response to the outbreak, including financial sanctions.

403 Signatures as of 3pm March 28, 2020

List of initial signatures* (in alphabetical order based on first name):
Abbas Edalat Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics. Founder, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Adi Burton Doctoral Candidate, University of British Columbia
Ali Gholizadeh Public Policy researcher, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)
Ali Naghieh Dr./ Fellow, University College London
Alireza Doostdar Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Alison Happel-Parkins Associate Professor, University of Memphis
Andreas Otto Dr./Board Member EUIRANC – European Iranian Council
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam Professor in Global Thought, SOAS, University of London
Assal Rad Research Fellow, National Iranian American Council
Azadeh N Shahshahani Legal & Advocacy Director, Project South; past president, National Lawyers Guild
Barbara Slavin American journalist and foreign policy expert
Bijan Ahmadi Executive Director, Institute for Peace & Diplomacy
Dani Magsumbol Doctoral student in Politics, York University
Farhang Jahanpour Retired professor and retired editor for Middle East and North Africa, BBC Monitoring
Farideh Farhi Independent Scholar
Fayyaz Baqir Visting professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa
Hamid Dabashi Professor, Columbia University
Hassan Allami Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa
Hassan Ansari Long-Term Member- Institute for Advanced Study. Princeton
Hasan Hafidh Dr./ Senior Teaching Fellow, SOAS
Hossein Kamaly Associate Professor, Hartford
Jaleh Mansoor Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Jamal Abdi President, National Iranian American Council
Javad Shamsi PhD student in Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science
John Packer Professor, University of Ottawa
John Philpot American Association of Jurists
Jon Rainwater Executive Director , Peace Action
Kevin McDonough Associate Professor, McGill University
Khodadad Rezakhani Research Scholar, Princeton University
Lisa Weems Professor, Miami University of Ohio
Mahdi Nikbakht Fini Research Assistant, Aalborg University
Mahsa Rouhi Research Fellow, IISS
Manjeet Ramgotra Lecturer in Political Theory, SOAS University of London
Maryam Nabavi Strategist, Equity & Inclusion, University of British Columbia
Maysam Behravesh PhD candidate in political science, Lund University
Megan Altman Professor, Cornell College
Mohammad Borghei Strayer University(retired professor) social and political activist
Mohammad Keyhani Associate Professor, University of Calgary
Mohsen Khaniki Board Member, Iranian Canadian Congress
Morteza Hashemi University of Edinburgh
Muhammad Sahimi Professor, University of Southern California
Nader Hashemi Director of Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver
Nassim Noroozi Visiting Lecturer, Concordia University
Neda Mohammadi Imperial College London
Noam Chomsky Institute Professor (emeritus), MIT. Laureate Professor, U. of Arizona
Omid Milani, Ph.D. Professor, University of Ottawa
Parham Pashaei PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia
Peyman Jafari Dr./ Princeton University/University of Amsterdam
Reem Abou-El-Fadl Senior Lecturer, SOAS University of London
Rojeh Jahani Vancouver Peace Council
Rose Wellman Assistant Professor, University of Michigan-Dearborn
S. J. Adrienna Joyce PhD candidate, McGill University
Sahar Maranlou Dr./ Lecturer in Law. University of Essex
Saideh Khadir Family physician and peace advocate
Sam Salehi Samiee Painting Department, ArtEZ University of Arts and Design
Samuel D. Rocha Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Sara Behforootan Research Associate, Imperial College London
Saranaz Barforoush, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Teaching, University of British Columbia
Sepideh Jodeyri Member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Setareh Shohadaei PhD Candidate, Department of Politics, The New School
Shadi Mokhtari Assistant Professor, American University
Shirin Saeidi Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Arkansas
Sina Toossi Senior Research Analyst, National Iranian American Council
Soroosh Shahriari PhD Candidate, McGill University
Soudeh Ghasemi President of the Iranian Canadian Congress
Sylvat Aziz Associate professor, Queen’s university
Taha Ahmadi Vostakolaei PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia
Thomas Woodley President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Trita Parsi Adjunct Associate Professor, Georgetown University
Yaser Mirdamadi Dr./ Researcher in Muslim biomedical ethics, the Institute of Isma’ili Studies, London
Younes Zangiabadi Vice President, Institute for Peace & Diplomacy
Yousof Azizi PhD Candidate in Public Administration at Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs
Here is a list of other academics and civil society activists who have signed the letter on march 28 (in no particular order):
Yoshiko Ozawa Japan International Cooperation Agency
Mahmud Farjami Associate Professor. at Kristiania University Colleges
Roham Afghani Khoraskani Assistant Professor + Shahid Beheshti University
Milad Mohammadi Postdoctoral researcher at University Hospital of Cologne
Arang Keshavarzian Associate Professor, New York University
Mohammad Reza Farzanegan Professor of Economics of the Middle East/ Philipps-Universität Marburg Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS)
Meysam Akhtar Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Arash massoudieh Associate Professor and Chair, The Catholic University of America
Amir Sabbagh Molahosseini Research Fellow, Queens University Belfast
Mohammadmehdi Saberioon Postdoctoral researcher in German geoscience research centre
Saeed Bagheri Dr./ Postdoctoral fellow, University of Reading
Abdolrasool Divsallar Program Associate, European University Institute
Kaveh Ehsani Assistant Professor DePaul University
Pouyan Tabasinejad Vice President, Iranian Canadian Congress
Fatemeh Abdollahzadeh Professor, Central Connecticut State University
Hamidreza Azizi Visiting Fellow, German Institute for International and Security Affairs
Mahmood Shafeie Zargar Assistant Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Ahmad Ehsandar Research Associate – University of Waterloo
Abbas javadtalab Assistant professor,Concordia university
Salar Haghighatafshar Researcher at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Sweden
Eli Kramer Institute of Philosophy, University of Wroclaw
Norma Claire Moruzzi Director, International Studies Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
Alireza Keshavarz Assistant Professor, Maynooth University
Damon Lynch Doctoral Candidate at the University of Minnesota
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini Founder/CEO International Civil Society Action Network
Mostafa Henaway Social justice fellow/ PhD candidate geography planning and environmental studies Concordia University
Alireza Zandi Karimi PhD, Part time faculty member, Concordia University
Melanie Shulman Professor – Humber College
Anthony Paré Professor, Universiy of British Columbia
Eli McCarthy Adjunct Lecturer, Georgetown University
Reza Namdari Community Activist, Engineer, Order of engineers

* Names, titles and affiliations appear as provided by the signatories.

** Statistics mentioned in the letter are updated as of March 27, 2020.

We have received great support since the letter was published online with the initial signatures. We will publish the complete list of signatures as soon as possible.