Iran’s rial lost close to a fifth of its value Monday, but that didn’t stop the West from calling for a tightening of the noose. In the UK, further steps to keep the strangle on Iran were drafted in hopes that the EU would soon adopt a new round of sanctions on Iran in the lead-up to renewed talks following the U.S. presidential elections.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland equated Iran’s virtual economic collapse today with ‘success’, once again highlighting the fact that the pain being brought to bear on Iranian civilians is hardly collateral damage but rather the intended consequence of the U.S.’s sanctions regime.
This is a critical point to keep in mind. The U.S.-EU sanctions regimes are specifically aimed at bringing to bear as much pressure as they can on Iranian civilians, in the hopes that conditions become so poor on the ground that the Iranian regime, rational as ever, will back down from its nuclear independence and submit itself to the West’s demands (i.e., a forfeit of its rights under the NPT). Thus, when we read in the news, however sparingly, of a shortage of medicines for particular cancers and diseases, or intolerable increases in food prices at the markets, we should understand that the slow torture described within is the intended consequence of the West’s sanctions regime.
When we’re told, then, that the sanctions on Iran represent a new flavor from the ones imposed on Iraq two decades ago, as in that they are ‘targeted’, our response should be clear and, even ironically, in the affirmative: ‘Yes, they are targeted, but only at Iran’s civilian population’. Because the whole point of the sanctions is to cause as much distress internally in Iran as possible, and thus to tip the scales in the thinking of Iran’s leadership in order to place the U.S. and Europe in as favorable a position as possible when negotiations are renewed after the U.S. elections. Until then, too, as we saw in the news of Iran’s currency plummet today, Iran’s people will have to pay the costs for the “civilized” West’s bout of “success”.