US sanc­tions on Iran: An in­stru­ment for regime change

Some ob­servers fear move could end up push­ing sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of pop­u­la­tion be­low poverty line

Daily Messenger - - Front Page -

TEHRAN: The sec­ond round of U.S. sanc­tions tar­get­ing Iran’s en­ergy sec­tor -- the coun­try's main source of in­come -- came into force this week, which could have the ef­fect of re­duc­ing Iran's crude oil ex­ports.

Some ob­servers fear the move could lead to ris­ing liv­ing costs and push a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion be­low the poverty line.

Ira­nian film­mak­ers and celebri­ties have re­sponded to the sanc­tions by launch­ing a so­cial-me­dia cam­paign with the Twit­ter hash­tag #Sanc­tion­sTar­getMe.

They say their goal is to let the world know that the main tar­gets of the U.S. sanc­tions are ev­ery­day Ira­ni­ans rather than the gov­ern­ment.

Hos­sein Mousa­vian, Iran's for­mer nu­clear ne­go­tia­tor, be­lieves the im­pact of the sec­ond round of sanc­tions will be worse than the first.

He says Wash­ing­ton’s ul­ti­mate goal is to in­crease pres­sure on Tehran with a view to chang­ing the Is­lamic repub­lic’s cur­rent regime.

Mousa­vian be­lieves the first round of sanc­tions -- im­posed some three months ago -- af­fected the coun­try’s for­eign trade and un­der­mined its econ­omy.

The sec­ond round, which of­fi­cially came into force on Mon­day, pri­mar­ily tar­gets Iran’s oil and gas ex­ports and in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Mousa­vian, the im­pact of the sec­ond round of sanc­tions on for­eign trade and the na­tional econ­omy will be worse, since Iran's bud­get is heav­ily de­pen­dent on en­ergy ex­ports, which ac­count for al­most 60 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal for­eign trade.

Mousa­vian also be­lieves, how­ever, that the first round of sanc­tions served to unite Iran’s dis­parate po­lit­i­cal fac­tions against U.S. pol­icy in the re­gion, while the sec­ond round could pro­vide Iran with an op­por­tu­nity to re­duce its tra­di­tional depen­dence on oil and gas.

"There is no doubt that Wash­ing­ton’s ul­ti­mate goal is regime change," he said. "But that’s been their goal for the last four decades and it’s al­ways ended in fail­ure.”

On Mon­day, the U.S. ex­empted eight Ira­nian oil pur­chasers from the sanc­tions, point­ing out that -- af­ter its with­drawal from the nu­clear deal in May -- Iran's daily oil ex­ports had fallen by one mil­lion bar­rels.

Th­ese pur­chasers will be al­lowed to buy lim­ited oil from Iran for an­other six months, af­ter which the U.S. -- which hopes to even­tu­ally bring Iran's oil ex­ports to zero -will de­cide whether or not to ex­tend the ex­emp­tion.

Pre­vi­ously, th­ese eight pur­chasers -- China, In­dia, South Korea, Ja­pan, Tai­wan, Turkey, Greece and Italy -- had ac­counted for some 75 per­cent of Iran's to­tal en­ergy ex­ports. Pur­chasers dur­ing the last round of sanc­tions had been ex­pected to re­duce their pur­chases by 20 per­cent ev­ery six months, but U.S. Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin re­cently said they would have to "cut more". Morteza Sa­fari Natanzi, chair­man of the For­eign Pol­icy Com­mit­tee of the Is­lamic Con­sul­ta­tive Assem­bly (Par­lia­ment), stated: “Although the U.S. has made great ef­forts to boy­cott Iran, it won’t achieve any­thing.”

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