Mar 14, 2022, 12:54 PM
Journalist ID: 1195
News ID: 84683322
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US' weaponization of economy by sanctions

Mar 14, 2022, 12:54 PM
News ID: 84683322
US' weaponization of economy by sanctions

Tehran, IRNA – The strategic nature of sanctions lever, is an issue stressed by the US officials several times. The question is, why sanctions are used as a lever against the countries that are not aligned with the US foreign policies?

By the position of sanctions, we mean the significance of sanctions and their implementation for the US politicians. The significance of understanding the status of sanctions is due to proper decision making about the sanctions and how to encounter them, which is in need of proper and precise understanding of them by the officials and the economic elites.

On the other hand, due to the significance of enlightenment of the public opinion on the sanctions, proper elaboration on them becomes doubly important.

Strategic lever, or punishment issue?

There are two interpretations and approaches about the sanctions. The first one believes that the sanctions are a means to punish a country; therefore, if the behavior of the sanctioned country changes, the sanctions will be lifted or terminated. The main cause for the anti-Iran sanctions, too, is some moves and policies of Iran which have been contrary to the US policies. Therefore, if Tehran changes its policies, Washington will terminate those sanctions.

The second approach believes that the sanctions are the US strategic means. Iran’s status in West Asia, increased power of Iran regardless of its political system, and the incompetence of the other pressure means, etc., had all led the US politicians to resort to sanctions as a strategic means against Iran.

In the first two decades of the new century, the Americans came to the conclusion that resorting to hard power in the military arena is too expensive and the soft power produces results too late. Therefore, they decided that they have to resort to semi-hard power which includes both the privileges of hard and soft powers and lacks their deficiencies. One of the means of semi-hard power is economic power.

Iran, the US test sample for pilot studies on effectiveness of sanction

Since 2001, the Americans have come up with the conclusion that Iran can be used as a test sample for the pilot studies on effectiveness of the US sanctions. Therefore, they decided to impose sanctions as a semi-hard means of power against Iran since 2001. By passing the Patriot Act 2001, the Americans set the foundations of today’s sanctions and started their economic war against Iran.

In the meantime, the military defeats of the United States in the past years reveal the fact that the only means for America to impose pressure against the Islamic Republic of Iran is to slap sanctions. In other words, sanctions are the only way that the US is left with for power balancing.

American officials have many times emphasized that sanctions are a strategic means in their foreign policy. For instance, John Bolton, the former US national security advisor in Trump administration, writes in his book: Our enemies assume sanctions are a means that we will someday feel sorry to use them; while sanctions are our strategic means in our foreign policy.

Richard Nephew, the US secretary of treasury at the time, too, similarly argues: During the Obama administration, sanctions became a supreme means in the US foreign policy to an extent that in the 2015 Strategic National Security Document sanctions are referred to several times as the main means for imposing national power.

A part of that document reads: By imposing sanctions we can impose an appropriate cost for the intruders. Goal-oriented economic sanctions are appropriate means for imposing costs against those irresponsible actors who resort to military aggressions and secret promotion of aggressive moves, and those who threaten the international law and norms and wish to still continue those methods.

Documents on US policies and national security show that countering China and Russia is current the priority of US foreign policy.

Therefore, in order to counter those two countries, the United States has to take action to secure the interests of its allies in West Asia, such as Saudi Arabia, and to prevent its foes in this region, like Iran, from getting stronger. As a result, the US attempts to prevent Iran from getting economically strong, so the sanctions are going to linger and the US will keep on affecting the major economic indexes in Iranian economy.

Status of negotiations to terminate sanctions

Keeping in mind the status of sanctions in US foreign policy, the answer to the question that "what the status of negotiations to terminate sanctions" is becomes more important? If this question is answered correctly, then the officials and businesses will effectively lead countering the sanctions and terminating them.

Identifying the role of negotiations in negating the sanctions depends on the US intentions behind them. Therefore, reviewing the viewpoints of some American officials can be helpful.

According to David Cohen, the assistant secretary of the treasury for terrorist financing, the objective of sanctions is changing the Iranian government's decision making behavior and providing a leverage to impose the required pressure in the negotiations.

In a directive letter to the banking and housing committee of the US Senate he reiterated: The objective of sanctions can be altering the Iranians’ calculations and providing the required leverage in serious nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Therefore, keeping in mind those words of this American official, we can claim that the negotiations are complementary means to improve efficacy of US sanctions. So, we can hope that only with negotiations, such as what was done during the former Iranian administration term, the termination of sanctions is possible. Furthermore, effective termination of sanctions passes through their detonation path.

Of course, mentioning this point does not mean that the diplomatic efforts and using the means at hand of the negotiators are useless. But the important point is that balanced usage of the entire means in economic diplomacy, negotiation, interactions and relations with neighbors can all in all result in detonation of sanctions, and as a result, their termination, as well.


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