By Nima Ch.
Are sanctions breaking the backs of the poor? … Or is it the mismanagements of Iran’s government? And … wasn’t it the Iranian foreign policy which caused the west to impose sanctions against Iran? Yes, undoubtedly it was.
But … “Why the hell is the west sanctioning the medicine, and how can such sanctions help weaken the Iranian regime?” You probably have heard this and similar questions posed. And such questions lead many to ask, “Is the U.S. really expecting to help the Iranian people through this?” One might get the impression that the west was anticipating that the bad economy would put people out on the streets.
Recently I had an unexpected conversation with an Iraniain businessman, a sales manager for a certain fabric. He was explaining how the sanctions have affected his workers. He told me that the U.S. produces some of the basic materials for his fabric, and that those products haven’t been delivered since the last embargo. If he buys the same materials from an Iranian supplier, it costs three times more than the original products. His fabric cannot be sold any more because of its high price. Many of his workers are unemployed now. His workers’ answer to my initial question above is probably that both are at fault: the sanctions and the mismanaged Iranian government. In order not to break his anonymity, I did not seek specifics about the product. It was unexpected enough to encounter such a tough story first-hand. Just hours after being introduced to him I was asking myself, “Is Iran still the most pro-American country?”
The manager continued, “Imagine if the U.S. would remove all the sanctions. No one could say any more that the miserable economical situation is because of the hostile U.S. policy. It would be obvious that they (if one is talking about they, he is talking about the Iranian government) are ruining the workers’ lives. Then they couldn’t beat down the demonstrations so easily by labeling them as pro-American demonstrations. It would at least make the gaps inside them (the government) much bigger than they are at the moment.”
When I suggested that at present it is impossible for the U.S. to remove all the sanctions, he agreed with me, but continued, “Yes, but guess what would happen, if they cut some important sanctions and the regime wouldn’t change its current foreign policy? And guess what would happen if the U.S. would remove some sanctions and Iran would change its policy?” His point was that in both cases it would be the end of the regime. He concluded, “You will see in the future, how a part of the regime will try to break the upcoming nuclear talks.”
Politics is not as simple as this manager tried to explain it to me. But his words were part of a true reality. More importantly: many people in Iran think like he does. Some may be neither managers nor workers, but they would be unhappy if they couldn’t download android apps for their smart phones.
I don’t want to end this note too black and white. I believe that most of the Iranians still like the U.S. and that living in the United States is a dream of theirs. With some valid reasons they are now just a little bit more suspicious about its policies.