Patrick Wintour reports on growing hardship inside Iran due to U.S. sanctions. He spoke to Daryoush Mohammadion, an English teacher:
Mohammadion does not see Iran imploding politically. “That is not how societies work. When you are attacked from the outside and have a common enemy you stick together. That is true all over the world.”
Many Americans often view sanctions as a preferable alternative to the use of force, but people on the receiving end of sanctions understandably see them as an aggressive and intrusive policy aimed at inflicting pain on them. They rightly see it as an attack on them and their country because that is what it is. Strangling an entire country’s economy is no more justified than launching any other kind of unprovoked attack on it, and it is bound to be indiscriminate in the damage it does.
The weakest and most vulnerable members of a society are certain to suffer most from economic problems created or exacerbated by sanctions, and they are the ones that have absolutely no say in how their government is run or what it does abroad. Sanctions may seem less objectionable than other forms of aggression, but they are more than capable of killing people all the same when they deprive people of their livelihoods, their savings, and their medicine. The people punished most by sanctions are the ones that haven’t done anything to deserve punishment, and they are the ones that can’t change any of the policies that the sanctions are supposedly being imposed to change. The reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran are fundamentally unjust and illegitimate, and other governments are right to ignore and work around them.
Iran hawks obviously don’t care what the sanctions do to ordinary Iranians, but the rest of us should object to this policy of collective punishment and work to overturn it. If we don’t consider the Iranian people to be our enemy, we shouldn’t tolerate policies that treat them as an enemy.