By Mohammad Sadat Khansari
The latest U.S. sanctions on Iran’s economy have been in place for several weeks now. The sanctions have hit the country’s oil sector and U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken extensively about the intended impact. His goal is to have all countries reduce their imports of Iranian oil to zero and only a few countries were given a waiver (albeit with strict time conditions). Trump has made it very clear that he intends to cut the Iranian regime off from the huge revenues that it uses to fund terrorism and other malign activities.
The Iranian regime has tried to portray the sanctions as being against the ordinary people of Iran, but this could not be further from the truth. President Hassan Rouhani has previously said that his country will ignore the sanctions and bypass them like it has become accustomed to doing over the past decades.
He also recently said that the regime has a choice. “We have no more than two options: Either concede to the U.S. and accept their incorrect claim so that the sanctions are lifted or we have to stand [firm] and resist.”
He went on to explain that Iran will not let the sanctions have an impact and that the country will “not let the enemy smile” and that it will never bow down to the United States.
The president also claimed that the U.S. sanctions have failed and that the average income of the average person in Iran has gone up fivefold – a claim that is quite simply preposterous because there are an increasing number of people living under the extreme poverty line. He admitted that the economic situation is not great but downplayed how extremely dire it is.
“In our society, the classes that are under pressure today, their income has increased fivefold over the last five years. However, I don’t want to say that our situation today is a good situation. If we claim that we must stand against the U.S., then we must stand. In war there are blows and strikes, war has injuries.”
With regards to FATF regulations regarding money laundering and the financing of terrorism, it seems that the Iranian government has no choice but to comply and to pass the proposed bills. However, the main reason behind Iran’s possible compliance is because the countries that are still trading with Iran insist on it.
Another reason is that Europe has already made it clear that it will only remain party to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if the FATF bills are passed by Iranian parliament.
So ,when, or if, the regime passes the bills, it is not because it wants to or because transparency is an important value to it – it is quite simply because it has been backed into a corner.
The Iranian regime faces a dead-end. It cannot get around the international obstacles that it is up against. But even worse for the regime, the people will not, under any circumstance, allow the regime to survive any longer. They will not accept anything less than regime change. And so they shouldn’t.