Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Support the Protests in Iran by Opposing Sanctions

Feminists in Iran are waging a powerful struggle against the Iranian regime. Leftists in the U.S. can support the protests by opposing sanctions, which disproportionately harm Iranian women and workers.

Sam Carliner

September 26, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Iranian women and some men protest while holding images of a woman who was killed in police custody.
Image: Safin Hamed

The world is witnessing a historic struggle in Iran. Feminists and workers are fighting for “Women, Life, and Freedom” following the state’s murder of Mahsa Zina Amini, a Kurdish woman who was beaten and died in police custody after being accused of improperly wearing her hijab. This is a mass movement against attacks on women and the working class, and against police violence towards an oppressed community. It is no wonder feminists around the world are inspired.

Many people are wondering what they can do to support the protests in Iran. In the United States especially, it is important that solidarity includes a strong opposition to imperialism — most notably, to U.S. sanctions. In fact, the United States is already using this moment to impose more sanctions on Iran.

These new measures have been placed on Iran’s “morality police” who killed Mahsa Amini and  are ruthlessly attacking protesters. This institution certainly deserves no sympathy from the Left. However, the nature of sanctions means that even when this economic warfare is supposedly placed on just one institution, it disproportionately hurts workers, women, and oppressed communities like Kurdish people.

As U.S. hegemony declines and direct warfare remains unpopular among the country’s working class, U.S. imperialism is increasingly using economic warfare to impose its will around the world. The use of sanctions proliferated greatly under Trump, and Iran was one of that administration’s main targets of economic warfare. Trump’s “maximum pressure sanctions” greatly limited Iran’s access to medication for cancer treatments and epilepsy patients. At the height of the Covid pandemic, Trump actually increased sanctions on Iran, contributing to the country’s massive death toll.

Now with the world watching Iran, and feminists in the United States eager to show solidarity, it is important for the Left to highlight the harm sanctions place on Iranian women, without giving any support to the regime that Iranians are protesting. It is notable that Iranians themselves are not calling for sanctions, and some are even pointing out that the legacy of U.S. intervention is also to blame for the oppression of women in Iran.

As Left Voice covered in March in regards to U.S. sanctions on Russia, sanctions are a tool of imperialism which has its own interests, in contrast to the interests of oppressed and working-class people in subjugated countries. We as the working class have our own methods to fight for liberation, such as shutting down the streets and using our workplaces to halt production.

As U.S. imperialism cynically uses talk of women’s rights to justify intervention, the Far Right in the United States is advancing attacks on the autonomy of women and LGBTQ+ people. Meanwhile, Biden is expanding the police state which uses violence to suppress leftist movements like the Black Lives Matter protests and recent actions for abortion rights.

As noted above, the protests in Iran are highlighting “Women, Life, and Freedom.” Time and again, the U.S. regime has shown that like the Iranian regime, it opposes women, life, and freedom. As the feminist movement in the United States shows its support for the feminist movement in Iran, we can support women, life, and freedom by refusing to tolerate U.S. sanctions on our class siblings and by uniting our struggles here and around the world.

Facebook Twitter Share

Sam Carliner

Sam Carliner is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about US imperialism. He also tweets about imperialism as @saminthecan.

Middle East-Africa

A woman tries to recover some of her possessions from her home which was damaged by an earthquake in the village of Tafeghaghte, near Marrakech, Morocco, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. Rescue crews expanded their efforts on Monday as the earthquake's death toll continued to climb to more than 2,400 and displaced people worried about where to find shelter.

Earthquake in Morocco: Government and European Imperialism to Blame for Rising Death Toll

The death toll from Friday’s earthquake in Morocco continues to grow as some areas have yet to receive aid. This is a consequence of the subordination of the Moroccan regime to European imperialism and the brutal plundering of the country's resources.

Roberto Bordón

September 13, 2023

Biden’s Iran Policies Are a Pitch that He’s Imperialism’s Best Bet

Biden is simultaneously advancing negotiations with Iran and deploying thousands of U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf. Behind both moves are pressures on Biden to contain Iran and demonstrate that he’s U.S. imperialism’s best bet against China’s advance in the Middle East.

Sam Carliner

August 23, 2023
People in Niger stand atop a building, waving the Niger flag, following a coup.

Coup in Niger Shows France’s Imperialist Decline

The coup in Niger shows that while French imperialism is in retreat, Chinese and Russian influence is growing in the region.

Claudia Cinatti

August 7, 2023

Netanyahu and His Ultra-Right Coalition Pass First Judicial Reform Despite Wide Resistance

The Israeli Knesset passed a law for judicial overhaul despite massive mobilizations that have been happening for months. What these mobilizations miss, however, is solidarity with Palestinians.

Mirta Pacheco

July 27, 2023


Far Right Imposed Shutdown Represents Deeper Crises Only Workers Can Resolve

The United States is on the verge of a government shutdown. The fact that a minority far right in Congress has forced this, largely over disagreements with military spending, shows that the U.S. regime is in a historic crisis. Now more than ever, workers must intervene for their own interests.

Sam Carliner

September 29, 2023

Neither Trump nor Biden Represent the Interests of the Striking Workers

Donald Trump skipped the second GOP debate to go to Michigan to speak on the UAW strike. This, one day after Biden became the first U.S. president to walk a picket line, represents the on-going fight between the parties to win influence over the working class.

Enid Brain

September 29, 2023

The Deadliest Year for U.S.-Mexico Border Crossings Occurred during Biden’s Administration

The humanitarian crisis at the border was created by capitalism. Voting for a lesser evil won’t save the Latin American working class; it will take international, political and strategic solidarity across borders to build a combative immigrants’ rights movement.

Paul Ginestá

September 28, 2023

The Big Three Are Using Layoffs to Punish the UAW and Undermine the Strike

The Big Three are retaliating against the UAW by laying off thousands of its members at plants across the country. Defeating these attacks will require the self organization and mobilization of all the workers.

James Dennis Hoff

September 28, 2023