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US sanctions are already hurting Iran Regime, but they should go further

By Mahmoud Hakamian

It’s not yet been four weeks since the US imposed the first round of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but many international businesses have already pulled out of the country, citing concerns over accessing the US financial markets.

The US should now embark on a strong public relations campaign to encourage more companies to leave Iran, highlighting how sanctions relief and the money flowing in from these companies do not benefit the Iranian people, but merely enrich the malign mullahs.

In 2012, the Obama administration imposed crippling sanctions on Iran, which significantly limited the amount of money that the mullahs could spend on their nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, terrorism, and their domestic repression, so we can see that sanctions do harm the regime.

Unfortunately, these sanctions led to the flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal and so did not have a chance to truly change the country for good. The sanctions relief offered by the deal allowed the Regime to resume their abuses and continue their tyranny across the Middle East.

The Trump administration has created a policy of enforcing these sanctions, with none of the ridiculous loopholes that previous administrations have allowed. Trump wants unprecedented economic pressure on the Iranian regime, which is why Brian Hook was made the US Special Representative on Iran. He will coordinate with the National Security Council to get tough on Iran via sanctions.

Of course, putting these sanctions into place is not an easy task and it takes time to gain the approval of other countries, particularly those who are still involved in the 2015 deal, but it will take a global effort to target the Iranian Regime’s malign behaviour. After all, the mullah’s fingerprints can be found on criminal activity all around the world; including an IRGC-linked money-laundering network that was recently uncovered in Georgia.

Thankfully, the Trump administration is making it clear to all companies that their financial interests are best served by doing business with the US, rather than a rogue state.

Iran’s response

Iran has responded to the sanctions with their typical propaganda, both through the state-run machine inside Iran and lobby groups in the West, hoping to convince others not to support the sanctions and making obscene claims about it doing harm to the Iranian people.

Of course, the Iranian Regime is the thing doing the most harm to the Iranian people and those with knowledge of Iran understand that the Iranian people support the sanctions and welcome stronger measures against their abusers, as they help the Iranian people to rise up against the mullahs.

Human rights activist Heshmat Alavi wrote: “Washington can galvanize its actions through its active support of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom. A crippling blow to Tehran’s regime can come through the official recognition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as the voice of the Iranian opposition and voice of 80 million people seeking regime change. The Iranian people do not expect Washington to topple the clerical regime in Tehran. This is a duty on their shoulders. And we’re up to the task.”

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