Why the Iranian People Support the Resumption of Sanctions Against the Iranian Regime
The first of Donald Trump’s sanctions against the Iranian regime has been revealed following the withdrawal of the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo described the coming wave of sanctions against the clerical regime as “the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete.”
Secretary Pompeo explained the US government’s Iran policy as a three-pronged approach. The first strategy would be to apply financial pressure on the regime. The second would address the regime’s contributions to instability in the Middle East, particularly its financing of international terrorism. The third prong would see the US supporting the Iranian public and championing their cause.
A Clear Set of Criteria
The US Secretary of State was explicit in the requirements the Iranian regime would have to meet before the US would consider lifting the sanctions. He produced a set of 12 criteria that would have to be met. Among the criteria is the termination of the nuclear and ballistic missile programs, a cessation of meddling in the affairs of its neighbor states and an end to the financing of terrorism.
Many of the demands Secretary Pompeo laid out have been among the demands of the Iranian opposition since decades ago to end the policy of appeasement to the mullahs in Iran, however while secretary Pompeo spoke extensively about the Iranian people and their uprising against the mullahs, the end of human rights abuses and suppression of the Iranian population was not among the 12 demands.
Will the Sanctions Harm the Iranian People?
When economic sanctions are employed against a rogue government, there is often a concern among the international community that rather than affect those in power, the people bear the economic burden, and are forced further into poverty and financial hardship. This is actually the narrative that the Iran lobby had long been pursuing in a bid to prevent more crippling sanctions on the regime.
However, the people of Iran are in favor of the proposed sanctions. Iranian trade has not benefitted the Iranian population. The economy is under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRCG) and the only beneficiaries of Iranian international trade are the IRCG and their affiliated companies.
Under the Iran deal, the Iranian regime received a $100-$150 billion financial windfalls. This had no effect on the Iranian people, who live in worse economic circumstances than they had prior to the lifting of the sanctions. In fact, the lifting of the sanctions and extra financial revenue allowed the regime to ramp up its domestic oppression and further interfere with conflicts in the region.
The people hope that with the resumption and intensification of international sanctions, it will limit the regime’s budget for repressive bodies and limit its campaign of tyranny against the Iranian population.
Maryam Rajavi’s Comments on Pompeo’s Speech
Responding to Mike Pompeo’s speech, leader of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, called his recognition of the Iranian people’s struggle “a major step”. She added, “democratic change in Iran is the only solution to the problem in Iran and the crisis in the region. Forming an international front against the religious and terrorist dictatorship in Iran is a requisite for the establishment of peace, security and coexistence in the region and world over”.
In the wake of the announcement from the US, Europe now has a choice; persevere with their short-term strategy of maintaining lucrative economic ties with Iran, or stand with the democratic movement in Iran, end its appeasement of the Iranian regime, and stand on the people’s side in their quest for a free, democratic Iran.