As the world bears witness to Iranian protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marking the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s formation, Mark Dubowitz reminds readers in Foreign Policy that President Barack Obama’s targeted sanctions regimen is bearing fruit:
Energy sanctions are an extension of a comprehensive economic warfare strategy designed to weaken the Revolutionary Guards and feed the flames of discontent. Whether through denying the Iranian regime much-needed capital and technology, or curtailing Iran’s access to the world’s banks, the strategy has shown some success. The regime is despised by many Iranians not only for its human rights abuses but also because of the disastrous state of the economy.
Despite the regime’s attempts to blame the sanctions policies of the United States for these economic problems, many, if not most, Iranians put the blame squarely on their leaders. For example, in November 2008, a group of 60 Iranian economists criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his ‘tension-inducing’ foreign policy that had ‘scared off foreign investment and inflicted heavy damage on the economy.’ The economists said the current sanctions had cost Iran billions of dollars by forcing it to use middlemen for exports and imports. Hooman Majd, who served as an advisor and interpreter for Ahmadinejad in New York, wrote in his 2008 book, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ, that ‘President Ahmadinejad’s promises to alleviate Iran’s economic woes were no longer believed, and the style of his foreign policy was viewed as having both exacerbated the economic crunch and contributed to the sense of insecurity, even if it continued to defend a nation’s rights.’
Dubowitz’s assessment comes as the Iranian government continues to crackdown on its opposition. Clearly, all is not well in Iran.
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