A friend of mine has a cousin in Iran who works as a lawyer. This cousin’s husband is an engineer who runs his own business importing and selling German appliances. They are both civilians; neither of them have any relationship with the Iranian government. Yet, the US-imposed sanctions on Iran’s financial sector has hit them hard.
The sanctions have caused a spiraling exchange rate, meaning that less and less Iranian customers can buy such products that now cost so much that they are out of reach. Consequently, the lack of sales has put his company and the jobs of his employees in jeopardy. The couple have a little girl and boy to support. Should the company go under, they can rely on her training as a lawyer in the short-term to keep the family afloat. Yet, the employees, some of whom are the main breadwinners of their families, may not have such fallback options.
These are the unforeseen consequences of the US sanctions on Iran that go unmentioned and uncovered by the US media and government.
Like many of us Iranians, a friend of mine has a lot of family in Iran. Unlike me, however, her mother and father are in Iran. They are retirees who own their own home. They no longer need to support their children or have related costs, i.e. diapers, tuition, school supplies, etc. Yet, the sanctions have negatively affected them. With their children now living as adults, these retirees spend much of their evenings hosting friends for dinner or being guests at their friends’ houses. With the cost of basic food items increasing exponentially as a result of the sanctions, these retirees have been hosting less and less gatherings at their home. Conversely, they’ve been invited to less gatherings because their friends are likewise unable to afford to have friends over.
These retirees–and I suspect many like them–are increasingly feeling isolated and alone, and my friend has noticed a deleterious effect on the mental health of her parents. Now imagine if these retirees were responsible for a family, like paying for the tuition costs of one or more child at a university, or didn’t own their own home and had to pay rent?
This is just another story that demonstrates how the US-imposed sanctions on Iran negatively impact such civilians in unforeseen ways.
Friends and allies, I have a sincere request. The US sanctions are crippling the lives of countless Iranians, and we hear very little about their stories in the mainstream media.
Thus, I will be posting as regularly as possible about how the sanctions affect the civilians inside Iran. I invite you to share with me via direct message any news sources–English or Persian– you come across that demonstrate such inhumane effects. More importantly, if you have friends and family in Iran that have shared with you the real-life struggles that they face because of the sanctions, then I urge you to share their stories. If you are not one to divulge such information publicly then I completely understand. In that case, please get in touch with me, and I will relay the information on your behalf anonymously (a real-life sample to follow). People in the US and the English-speaking world must gain insight into such needless hardship.
As for the readers of such forthcoming posts, I hope you trust me the credibility of such stories. As a historian, I will be sure to seek the truth objectively and accurately.
As I begin to gather first-hand stories, here you’ll find a decent one-minute sample of a news source giving a small window into such hardships.
My latest piece in The Fletcher Forum of International Affairs: “The 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution is upon us, and supporters and detractors alike are busying themselves with articles that expound their worldviews. What is lost in the cacophony of polemics, however, is the revolution’s impact beyond Iran’s borders. Iran’s 1979 revolution both empowered oppressed Shi’ite Muslims across the Middle East, and prompted a Saudi-led sectarian backlash—the modern roots of today’s Shi’ite-Sunni divide.”
Excuse the typos in the flier (I did not create the flier).
I have since shortened the title of my presentation to “The Iranian Left’s Latin Roots: Protest and Protest Music.” Click here for the program.
My latest piece in The Fletcher Forum of International Affairs: “The United States would be wise to heed the lessons of history and let Iranians determine their own fate as any further intervention—whether soft or hard—could easily derail Iran’s organic political evolution in unforeseen ways. Soft intervention by way of presidential statements in Washington or at the United Nations in support of dissent would enable the Iranian government to cast its dissidents as part of an American plot. Any hard military intervention would provoke a nationalist backlash that would sideline calls for change from within.”
Dean Vali Nasr in Foreign Affairs: “Some observers see Iran today, with its use of militias and insurgents abroad, as the United States saw the Soviet Union or China at the height of its revolutionary fervor—as a power intent on using asymmetric means to upset the existing order and sow chaos. Iran’s goal is to “expand its malign influence,” Mattis said at his confirmation hearing, “to remake the region in its image.” But Iran is closer to modern Russia and China than to their revolutionary predecessors. Like them, it is a revisionist power, not a revolutionary one. It opposes a regional order designed to exclude it. Iran’s methods often defy international norms, but the national interests they serve, even when at odds with those of the United States, are not uncommon. Iran’s view of the world is shaped less by the likes of Lenin and Mao than by those of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. And it is driven less by revolutionary zeal than by nationalism.”