The Trump administration’s policy of sanctions on Iran is misguided and will hurt the people more than the regime.
On October 3, the International Court of Justice issued a ruling on the Trump administration’s re-imposed sanctions on Iran. The court said the US must lift part of the sanctions related to food, medical supplies and humanitarian products, and aviation safety equipment.
Iran claims that Washington has violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights between both countries. But the question is whether there have been friendly relations between the US and Iran since the 1979 revolution. Nearly 40 years of hostility between the two countries can easily provide the answer to this.
The Iranian people are the only losers of this game. This is a game between two groups of politicians who do not care about economic collapse in Iran and its effect on the daily lives of ordinary people. Iranians are not interested in the Islamic Republic’s aim of expanding its political influence under a Shia crescent in the Middle East, nor are they complicit in the widespread oppression by the regime.
In May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placed 12 demands on the Iranian regime and said if it complies with the list, then Washington would lift sanctions. Politicians in Tehran have proved they do not care about the quality of life and welfare for Iranians. They only want Iran to flex its political prowess the Middle East.
In recent years, Tehran has expanded its strategic depth in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq by empowering and arming militias and spending billions on this strategy. In September, Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to the supreme leader, said Iranians would rather starve to death than give in to Washington.
The tragic fact is that both the Americans and Iranians do not care about a humanitarian crisis in Iran.
Due to US sanctions, as well as limits on transactions with the dollar and the export of Iran’s oil, the Iranian rial has hit a record low. Iranians face serious difficulties as a result. For instance, students have been discouraged from learning English; the auto industry is struggling to buy spare parts; a shortage in medication has put the lives of patients at risk; food prices have risen; and there are sanitary issues with the limited availability of diapers.
The Iranian regime does not respect human rights, rule of law and democratic values. Tehran is known to imprison open-minded politicians and dissenters, such as Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohammadi and Arash Sadeghi. But this isn’t the only problem for the Iranian people as they also suffer from the West.
The new US policy under the Trump administration is putting pressure on Iranians to revolt against the regime. Washington re-imposed sanctions on Iran to increase dissatisfaction with the Islamic Republic so people would become restless and call for change. But this is not a good way to reach democracy. Many could die from shortages in medicine and food as a result of sanctions, and this scenario will weaken people instead of empowering them to call for democracy.
After nearly 40 years of rule by the regime, there are 20 million illiterate people in Iran, according to the director of the Iranian Literacy Movement. So, how is it possible that these uneducated people would know anything about rule of law and democracy? The way to enlighten these people and show them the way to democracy and secularism is by empowering them through education, not sanctioning them.
In the coming months, Iran will surely face a humanitarian crisis due to the lack of medicine, unemployment and food shortages, just like it did before sanctions were eased after the 2015 nuclear agreement. At the same time, the world should expect to see the number of Iranian migrants seeking to enter Europe rise.
Sanctions on Iran will affect the people more than the regime.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.