The U.N. sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s triggered a humanitarian crisis that lasted for over a decade. Since then, many would say that U.N. sanctions have been narrowly targeted to minimize human damage. It would seem that this is true of the U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran. However, the Security Council resolutions contain ambiguous terms which arguably authorize the much more extensive sanctions imposed by the European Union and others. These in turn have caused significant harm to the Iranian population as a whole, very much like the measures imposed on Iraq in the 1990s.
Georgetown Journal of International Law
Gordon, C. Joy, "Crippling Iran: The UN Security Council and the Tactic of Deliberate Ambiguity" (2013). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 19.
Gordon, J. "Crippling Iran: The UN Security Council and the Tactic of Deliberate Ambiguity,” Georgetown Journal of International Law, vol. 44, no. 3 (2013), p.973-1006.