In May, US President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of the nuclear deal between Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, signed by Barack Obama in 2015. He also announced the resumption of sanctions against Iran in two phases within 90 and 180 days.
By Fabio Bosco
On top of various limitations already stated by the nuclear deal, the U.S. administration demands the reduction of the production and reach of ballistic missiles and the end of the Iranian military interventions in the countries of the Middle East (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon).
The first phase of the sanctions occurred on August 7 ,2018. This resulted in the cancellation of the sale of 230 aircraft to Iranian airlines; a ban on importing Iranian hand-made woolen carpets that directly and indirectly employ 2 million workers and the country accounts for 30% of the world market; in addition to other products such as caviar, pistachio, cars, gold and other metals.
The Iranian currency, the rial, suffered a sharp devaluation decreasing from 38 thousand rials per dollar to 150 thousand rials per dollar, which raised inflation and greatly reduced the purchasing power of the country’s population. Oil exports have dropped 800,000 barrels a day since May, pushing output to between 1.7 and 1.9 million barrels a day.
The second phase was held on November 5, 2018. It hit the production of oil and gas in full, accounting for 80% of the country’s revenues. The port system, insurance and reinsurance services and banking transactions were also affected due to the disruption of operations through the well-established SWIFT system.
Eight countries can maintain their economic relations with Iran over the next six months: China, India, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey and Italy.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a message to the Iranian people in Farsi that “sanctions do not apply to the sale of food, agricultural products, medicines and medical instruments” and that the United States “stands with the Iranian people.”
But the reality is totally different. Contrary to what Mike Pompeo said, the sectors most affected by the sanctions are the poor, women and children.
The goals of the US government with sanctions are to control and make profit on Iranian and Arab oil and to strengthen its two main allies in the region: Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Working-class organizations worldwide must oppose American sanctions against Iran without politically supporting its dictatorial regime. Iran and all oppressed nations have the right to control their natural wealth and build all the weapons they deem necessary for their defense as nuclear weapons.
However, a broader strategy is needed to expel all imperialist forces from the area for which the unity of the working-class population of all countries in the region is critical.
To forge this unity, it is necessary to defend the right of self-determination for the oppressed peoples and to defend democratic freedoms, which implies in the end of any support for dictatorships like Bashar el-Assad, the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, Yemen and Iraq, including Iranian’s, and stop any direct or indirect collaboration with the State of Israel.
This strategy is complemented by workers’ governments backed by democratic workers’ and people’s councils that bring all countries in the area together into a federation of socialist republics of the Middle East.