New Escalation in US Sanctions against Iran: No More Exemptions

The US has decided to abolish any exemptions of its sanctions imposed on Iran, a new escalatory step that confirms the US intention to challenges the Iranian influence in the Arab region.

Muhammed Mashaei, an Iranian activist says to MENA Research and Study Center that abolishing the exemptions means more sanctions to be imposed on Iran and strangulating the Iranian regime.

The US issued a decision to end the exemptions that had so far allowed projects related to Iran’s civil nuclear program. With that decision, Washington has cut the last strip linking it to the nuclear deal.

The importance of the American decision, according to the activist, lies in the fact that it includes all of Iran’s allies in the economic sanctions, especially those who are directly linked with the nuclear program, affecting the external support provided for Tehran.

The exemptions included Tehran’s research reactor, as well as the Arak heavy water reactor that was modified under the supervision of the international community to make the production of plutonium for military use impossible.

Mashaei indicates that abolishing the exemptions is an additional pressure on the Iranian regime, and it supports the economic sanctions imposed on the oil sector in particular.

“The American decision is very clear, Iran will not have a nuclear bomb, so the regime will lose its nuclear activities and dreams, and an opportunity to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran,” the activist explains.

The US special envoy to Iran, Brian Hook estimated Iran’s losses due to the sanctions at about $ 50 billion until the beginning of this year.

Sanctions weapon and Money war

The US sanctions have proved their effectiveness in thwarting the Iranian actions and limiting its influence, and this is what Muhammed Mohsen Abu al-Nour, Head of the Arab Forum for Analyzing Iranian Politics, says: “The US sanctions have major effect on Iran, and the prove is the dramatic deterioration of the Iranian currency during last year, when the exchange rate in the black market reached 144,000 riyal for $1, although the official exchange rate was 42,000 riyal against the US dollar, according to the Sputnik News Agency.”

The Iranian government had previously announced removing the zeros from the local currency and replacing the riyal with the toman as a solution to counter the collapse of the currency against foreign exchange.

Abu Al-Nour believes that the losses revealed after the sanctions have big impact, especially that the sanctions targeted sensitive sectors such as minerals, ports, in addition to the insurance and banks sector, and that these sanctions are aimed at curbing Iran and undermining its options.

Vague Future and ongoing policies

The increased pressures against the Iranian regime mean that Iranian economy will suffer more deterioration, according to the researcher at Cairo University, Aya Hamada, amid collapse of the oil sector and increase in the rates of inflation.

“By reducing its obligations in the nuclear agreement to four steps and increasing the rate of uranium enrichment, the latest of which was to 4.5%, while the allowed limit is 3.67%, Iran has limited the opportunity of persuading the United States to keep the agreement,” Hamada says.

In 2018, the US President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the agreement, after describing it as insufficient to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and imposed a series of sanctions on the economic system.

In the same context, Hamada indicates that the US will continue in the sanctions policy, since it led to the collapse of Iran’s military arms in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. She points out that the sanctions policy will force Iran to surrender and negotiate with the US to protect its economy from further collapse, and protect the Iranians from more suffering.

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