News / Middle East

Experts: Tightening Iran Sanctions Hurts Ordinary Iranians

Experts: Tightening Iran Sanctions Hurt Ordinary Iraniansi
|| 0:00:00
X
Carla Babb
August 27, 2012 9:10 PM
Iran is hosting a summit for dozens of nations in the Non-Aligned Movement, while some of those countries are complying with U.S. and international sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes. VOA's Carla Babb explores the difficulties of enforcing the sanctions and their effect on Iranian citizens.
Carla Babb
Iran is hosting a summit for dozens of nations in the Non-Aligned Movement, while some of those countries are complying with U.S. and international sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program.  Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes. 

Tehran's refusal to address international concerns about its atomic ambitions has forced the United States and the United Nations to tighten sanctions on Iran.  U.S. authorities are investigating the Royal Bank of Scotland and Germany's second-biggest lender, Commerzbank, in an effort that already has led to large fines for others caught doing business with Iran.

Effects of sanctions

Iran's economy has suffered greatly from the sanctions, according to David Tafuri, a partner at the Washington D.C.-based law firm Patton Boggs, which is active in Middle East development.

"It's certainly made it difficult for Iran to sell oil, which is the main source of funds for Iran," he said.  "So Iran needs money, not just to keep the economy going, but to continue these weapons programs."

But Jamal Abdi, policy director of the National Iranian American Council, says U.S. policy toward Iran is doing more harm than good.

"We've gone from a policy that was supposed to be smart sanctions or targeted sanctions instead to ones that are designed to cripple the entire Iranian economy, and this is a counterproductive approach," he said.  "This hurts ordinary people. It obstructs rather than facilitates diplomacy.  And at the end of the day, I think it's going to put us on a collision course for a military confrontation with Iran."

So what do ordinary Iranians think?

"A lot of people see the reason behind the sanctions, which is the nuclear crisis, but they don't see that.  A lot of people don't see that connected to their daily lives," said Negar Mortazavi, host of VOA Persian News Network's "Straight Talk" program.  "But they see sanctions connected to their daily lives."

Mortazavi says people call in to her program to complain about rising food prices.

One viewer shows how the price of milk increased by 14 percent in only four days. Another viewer submitted a satirical picture of a "chicken tea bag," mocking how chicken is so expensive that the same bird has to be used to prepare several meals.

"It's an unfortunate by-product of sanctions.  And really, oftentimes it's the people who don't support the regime in these countries that are hurt the most by the sanctions, which is very sad and unfortunate," said David Tafuri.  "But sanctions, by their nature, have to be universal and comprehensive.  You can't really make exceptions."

Many experts say that relying on international sanctions to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons will be a difficult and lengthy process.

"I just hope this process of building leverage, we can actually use that leverage before it reaches a breaking point," Jamal Abdi said.

And Tafuri, Abdi, and other experts say the possibility of a military confrontation could increase as the impasse over Iran's nuclear program continues. 

VOA Persian News Network's Negar Mortazavi contributed to this report.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid