Iran de­fi­ant over new sanc­tions

The Week (US) - - News 15 -

There are dark days ahead for Ira­ni­ans, and “they have only their regime to blame,” said The Na­tional (United Arab Emi­rates) in an ed­i­to­rial. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion this week reim­posed pun­ish­ing sanc­tions on Iran’s oil, ship­ping, and fi­nan­cial sec­tors, penal­ties lifted by the 2015 in­ter­na­tional deal that of­fered sanc­tions re­lief in ex­change for Tehran lim­it­ing its nu­clear pro­gram. “This could have been avoided.” The nu­clear deal, signed by for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, freed hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars for Iran’s gov­ern­ment. But in­stead of in­vest­ing that money in pub­lic ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture, Tehran used it to sup­port Houthi rebels in Ye­men, the blood­stained regime of Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad in Syria, Hezbol­lah mil­i­tants in Le­banon, and Shi­ite rad­i­cals in Iraq. Pres­i­dent Trump wisely pulled the U.S. out of the flawed nu­clear pact in May and by re­in­stat­ing the sanc­tions is forc­ing Iran to make a choice. Tehran can “ei­ther aban­don its de­struc­tive be­hav­ior,” Trump said, “or con­tinue down the path to­ward eco­nomic dis­as­ter.” And Iran is fac­ing dis­as­ter: Its cur­rency, the rial, has lost 70 per­cent in value this year, while food prices have climbed nearly 50 per­cent.

“The Don Quixote in the White House has com­mit­ted an­other blun­der by im­pos­ing il­le­gal sanc­tions on Iran,” said S. Nawabzadeh in Kay­han (Iran). A glimpse at the past four decades of con­flict be­tween the U.S. and our Is­lamic Repub­lic shows that “Iran has van­quished the U.S. at ev­ery turn.” We saw off the U.S.-backed tyrant Sad­dam Hus­sein dur­ing the 1980–88 IranIraq War, and we over­came U.S. sanc­tions that tried to stop us from mas­ter­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nol­ogy and the nu­clear fuel cy­cle. This new of­fen­sive will like­wise come to naught. Fear­ful of con­fronta­tion, the cow­ardly Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has ex­empted eight ma­jor buy­ers of Ira­nian oil—in­clud­ing China, Turkey, and In­dia—from the sanc­tions. The Euro­pean Union, mean­while, is cre­at­ing a new spend­ing mech­a­nism so that its mem­ber na­tions can do busi­ness with Iran with­out fac­ing U.S. penal­ties. Iran and the world have to­gether given Un­cle Sam such a bloody nose that “no amount of cos­metic surgery will ever set it right.”

“Trump is in­deed liv­ing in a fan­tasy land” if he thinks he can con­tain Iran, said John Bradley in The Spec­ta­tor (U.K.). At this junc­ture, no­body but Is­rael and Saudi Ara­bia—which has as much in­no­cent blood on its hands as Iran—is will­ing to line up with the U.S.’s “ir­ra­tional, decades-long anti-Iran vendetta.” And Trump’s true goal, to spark a cit­i­zen up­ris­ing against the mul­lahs, ig­nores the his­tory of such ef­forts, which tend to re­sult in pop­u­lar anger di­rected at those im­pos­ing the sanc­tions rather than at the rul­ing elite. Mean­while, the sanc­tions will in­flict very real suf­fer­ing on Iran’s 80 mil­lion cit­i­zens, said Chris­tian Böhme in Der Tagesspiegel (Ger­many). And if un­rest re­sults, the hard-line Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard will move to grab more power, pos­si­bly oust­ing Iran’s com­par­a­tively mod­er­ate Pres­i­dent Hassan Rouhani. Any hope of ne­go­ti­a­tion be­tween the U.S. and Iran will end there.

Protest­ing the U.S. on the streets of Tehran

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