Sanctions enforced last month have left Iran’s shipping, banking, oil, energy and shipbuilding industries floundering.
In the fallout, the Iranian rial has lost more than a quarter of its value against the dollar, sending the prices of food and other basic commodities soaring.
“The US sanctions on Iran are intended, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared, to choke off funds that the regime uses to support its malign activities in the region,” said Dr Albadr Al-Shateri, politics professor at the National Defense College in Abu Dhabi.
“The second purpose is to target Iranian elites who line their pockets at the expense of Iranians’ welfare. Finally, the sanctions bring maximum pressure on the ruling regime to change its behavior.”
Pompeo said that Iran’s leaders must be “made to feel the painful consequences” of their violence and corruption.
Al-Shateri said: “The sanctions, despite their unilateral nature, have hurt Iran. Many companies that had planned to invest in Iran changed course, fearing US punitive sanctions.
“The Iranian currency plunged, unemployment is high and inflation is soaring. The International Monetary Fund points to declining growth due to the sanctions.”
Frustration at the declining economy has led to protests in Iran. “The policy … is clearly intended to clip Tehran’s wings and undermine its legitimacy,” said Al-Shateri.
“The regime in Tehran will use the sanctions as a rallying cry against Washington. But despite demonstrations against Iran’s government, a groundswell of support for regime change isn’t materializing.”
Al-Shateri cited two reasons for this: The regime’s ability and willingness to suppress protests, and the Iranian people’s despondence, reticence and fatigue, as evidenced by the dwindling number of demonstrators.
Read more: Al Bawaba
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