Borzou Daragahi reports on the impact of sanctions ahead of the administration’s reimposition of even more:

“Sanctions have crippled the lives of the Iranian people. The elite and their families continue to live their lives. Sanctions do not affect their lives,” says Ali Dehghan, a 20-year-old law student in the city of Yazd.

Mr Dehgan, no fan of the Iranian leadership, said he would side with the regime in any conflict with the US.

The president took to Twitter today to boast about the sanctions that are crippling the lives of the people:

The administration’s abuse of sanctions is cruel and unnecessary, and Trump’s childish celebration of that cruelty is unusually disgusting even by his low standards. Tens of millions of people are going to suffer needless hardship and deepening poverty because of his decisions and policies, and Trump treats the misery he is inflicting on them like an episode from cable TV. USA Today reports on the destructive effects of the sanctions:

“These sanctions are a slap in the face to the Iranian people who have been squeezed between the repression of their government and the pressure of international sanctions for decades,” Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said in a statement ahead of Pompeo’s announcement. “Impoverishing ordinary Iranians will not hurt the regime or achieve any of America’s security interests, but it will set back the Iranian people’s aspirations for years to come.”

To make all of this even worse, there is no good reason to think that the sanctions will change the behavior of the regime. As Ali Vaez explains, Iran’s support for proxies and allies has remained constant regardless of the economic difficulties:

But historical data shows little, if any, correlation between the resources at Iran’s command and its regional behaviour. Rather, the extent to which the Islamic Republic feels threatened or senses opportunity in its neighbourhood largely defines its conduct. Measured against that standard, the Trump administration’s aggressive policy is likelier to spur Iran’s regional activism than to curb it.

Trump’s policy will fail on its own terms, but it is going to make the lives of tens of millions of people much harder. There should be no doubt that Trump and his administration have nothing but contempt for the people of Iran, and their cruel policies are proof of that.