Trump wants to inflict misery on iran…again duke electric orlando


The U.S. government is poised to reimpose devastating economic sanctions — on everything from Iran buying or acquiring U.S. dollars, to commerce in Iran’s ports, to exports of Iranian oil, to transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, and the list goes on.

Because of the impact of sanctions in a few brief years before the nuclear deal was signed, families in Iran living in poverty nearly doubled to more than 40 percent in 2014 — and the value of the country’s currency, the Rial, plummeted, causing the prices of basic necessities like milk, tea, fruits and vegetables to skyrocket.

According to a Guardian report in 2013: “Hundreds of thousands of Iranians with serious illnesses have been put at imminent risk by the unintended consequences of international sanctions, which have led to dire shortages of lifesaving medicines such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and blood-clotting agents for hemophiliacs.”

And it isn’t the first time. Following the U.S.-led war on Iraq in 1991, the United Nations placed the strictest regime of sanctions yet known on Iraq. A 1999 United Nations report concluded that up to 576,000 Iraqi children died as a result of the sanctions regime — upheld under Democrat Bill Clinton as enthusiastically as under Bush Sr.

But Trump administration officials like National Security Advisor John Bolton are publicly threatening to impose sanctions on any businesses that do business with Iran, along with governments that back them. Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, warned in a tweet: “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

The chilling effect of U.S. sanctions was effective in isolating Iran from the global market before the Obama administration agreed to a deal, under which Iran accepted stringent inspections of its nuclear facilities in return for the lifting of most of the sanctions.

Even after the agreement, some international corporations hesitated to establish ties with Iran. Now, businesses will have to decide whether to risk running afoul of the U.S., which could mean losing access to American markets or other penalties.

THE U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran on and off since 1979, the year that a popular revolution toppled the U.S.-backed Shah. Though working class forces central to the revolution were sidelined afterward, the rise of a conservative clerical regime, hostile to the West and Israel, threatened U.S. hegemony in the Middle East.

Washington demanded compliance from its allies — yet the U.S. government itself broke its own arms embargo in the 1980s when the Reagan administration covertly sold arms to Iran and used the proceeds to fund the right-wing contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

In the 1990s, the U.S. expanded economic sanctions to firms doing business with Iran, further isolating the country. The European Union responded by arguing to the World Trade Organization that U.S. sanctions violated international law. This led the U.S. to agree not to enforce part of the sanctions.

For years, the sanctions have long been bound up with Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has defended its right to pursue a program for the production of electricity, which is within its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which, by the way, Israel never signed).

But the U.S. and its allies continued to apply pressure. In 2006, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions following Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment programs. The Obama administration and the European Union placed an embargo Iran oil imports in 2012.

The threat and enforcement of sanctions pushed Iran to the negotiating table. With the 2015 agreement, Iran capitulated to demands for a reduction in its uranium stockpile and a pause on developing alleged weapons infrastructure, in exchange for the loosening of sanctions and strict monitoring of Iranian facilities.

Trump claims that the nuclear agreement is “the worst deal ever.” But in reality, it achieved a strict system of monitoring that has uncovered no signs of any attempt at military activity — while reserving for the U.S. the right to impose sanctions and even take military action at will, as Obama always insisted.

The deal had a positive effect on Iran’s economy, resulting in a doubling of oil exports and job creation. But even so, Iran remained less than fully integrated into the world economy. Major European banks were hesitant to expand into Iran, worried about the U.S. changing course.

Prior to the 2015 nuclear deal, the government often pointed to U.S. and EU sanctions as the reason for lack of money for social spending. Predictably, a sophisticated black market formed, with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard controlling many of the smuggling routes, increasing the power of the regime.

Iranian workers recognize that the conservative hierarchy pursues policies that benefit themselves, above all else. Insurrectionary protests at the turn of the year, and more recently a wave of strikes, have asked why the money to fund Iran’s intervention in Syria and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, shouldn’t be used in Iran itself.

But the U.S. government has other plans. And with fanatics like Bolton and Trump himself calling the shots, the likelihood of greater misery inflicted on the Iranian people — and even a regional war stoked by the U.S. — has grown, and shows no signs of receding.