Trump has imposed another round of sanctions on Iran, this time targeting their metals sector:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered new sanctions on Iran, this time targeting the Islamic Republic’s export revenues from its industrial metals sector, and vowed to keep squeezing Tehran unless it “fundamentally alters” its policies.
The announcement was made on the anniversary of Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of the United States from a 2015 landmark deal between Tehran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions and hours after Tehran said it would no longer fully comply with the accord.
Iran is not going to “fundamentally” alter its policies because of these sanctions. Their government has refused to make any changes to its policies in response to all of the others, and this will only harden their resistance. This is another attempt to penalize both Iran and its trading partners for engaging in legitimate commerce. It is unwarranted and unjust, and it will inflict more harm on tens of millions of innocent people for the sake of our hard-liners’ bizarre vendetta. Our government’s policy of collective punishment inflicted on the Iranian people is expanding so that it will cause more Iranians even more economic pain and hardship. These sanctions will do significant harm to Iran’s domestic manufacturing:
My company has had several issues in recent months due to the daily fluctuating metal prices and raw materials. And now this specific sanction is going to destroy many small and medium-sized companies.
— Leilahdaneshvar (@leilahdaneshvar) May 8, 2019
This is imposing sanctions simply to be punitive and because our government can do it. It is both strategically and morally bankrupt, like the administration’s Iran policy as a whole. That policy is deeply wrong, and it deserves to fail.
The real purpose of the new sanctions seems to be to attack the industries that depend on this sector and hurt Iranian workers in order to foment political upheaval:
So this isn’t about foreign exchange earnings. Only 1/3 of Iran’s steel is exported. This is about employment. Iran’s steel mills employ tens of thousands + tens of thousands more are in the dependent automotive sector. This is about stoking unrest in the blue collar workforce. https://t.co/8DNQKwkxIY
— Esfandyar Batmanghelidj (@yarbatman) May 8, 2019
Driving up unemployment in Iran will undoubtedly deepen the country’s economic woes and increase the population’s misery, but that seems very unlikely to produce the hoped-for effect of sparking an uprising. Even if it might succeed in causing an uprising, that would lead to an even more severe crackdown. The Trump administration is strangling an entire country economically in the hopes of making people desperate enough to get themselves killed by a regime that is more than capable of harshly suppressing protest. I doubt very much that Iranians are going to oblige the government that is destroying their livelihoods by participating in our Iran hawks’ regime change fantasy.