How they see us: Iran defiant over new sanctions
There are dark days ahead for Iranians, and “they have only their regime to blame,” said The National (United Arab Emirates) in an editorial. The Trump administration this week reimposed punishing sanctions on Iran’s oil, shipping, and financial sectors, penalties lifted by the 2015 international deal that offered sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program. “This could have been avoided.” The nuclear deal, signed by former U.S. President Barack Obama, freed hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran’s government. But instead of investing that money in public services and infrastructure, Tehran used it to support Houthi rebels in Yemen, the bloodstained regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, and Shiite radicals in Iraq. President Trump wisely pulled the U.S. out of the flawed nuclear pact in May and by reinstating the sanctions is forcing Iran to make a choice. Tehran can “either abandon its destructive behavior,” Trump said, “or continue down the path toward economic disaster.” And Iran is facing disaster: Its currency, the rial, has lost 70 percent in value this year, while food prices have climbed nearly 50 percent.
“The Don Quixote in the White House has committed another blunder by imposing illegal sanctions on Iran,” said S. Nawabzadeh in Kayhan (Iran). A glimpse at the past four decades of conflict between the U.S. and our Islamic Republic shows that “Iran has vanquished the U.S. at every turn.” We saw off the U.S.-backed tyrant Saddam Hussein during the 1980–88 Iran-Iraq War, and we overcame U.S. sanctions that tried to stop us from mastering ballistic missile technology and the nuclear fuel cycle. This new offensive will likewise come to naught. Fearful of confrontation, the cowardly Trump administration has exempted eight major buyers of Iranian oil—including China, Turkey, and India—from the sanctions. The European Union, meanwhile, is creating a new spending mechanism so that its member nations can do business with Iran without facing U.S. penalties. Iran and the world have together given Uncle Sam such a bloody nose that “no amount of cosmetic surgery will ever set it right.”
“Trump is indeed living in a fantasy land” if he thinks he can contain Iran, said John Bradley in The Spectator (U.K.). At this juncture, nobody but Israel and Saudi Arabia—which has as much innocent blood on its hands as Iran—is willing to line up with the U.S.’s “irrational, decades-long anti-Iran vendetta.” And Trump’s true goal, to spark a citizen uprising against the mullahs, ignores the history of such efforts, which tend to result in popular anger directed at those imposing the sanctions rather than at the ruling elite. Meanwhile, the sanctions will inflict very real suffering on Iran’s 80 million citizens, said Christian Böhme in Der Tagesspiegel (Germany). And if unrest results, the hard-line Revolutionary Guard will move to grab more power, possibly ousting Iran’s comparatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani. Any hope of negotiation between the U.S. and Iran will end there. ■