Sanctions have long been used as a form of non-violent retaliation against a country. While sanctions have become more of a buzzword in recent politics, Iran-United States relations have long been familiar with the concept. Iranian communities, organizations, and businesses are impacted by them every day, so it is important to dive into the nature of these sanctions.
History of These Sanctions
• 1979: In response to the Iran hostage crisis, the U.S. froze billions in assets and enacted a full trade embargo (lifted in 1981).
• 1983, 1987: Labeled Iran as a supporter of international terrorism and banned weapon sales, expanding into an embargo on imports.
• 1995, 1997: In fear of suspicions that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons, the U.S. banned U.S. interaction with the Iranian oil industry, later expanding sanctions to all investments.
• 2017: President Trump signs the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity and implements asset blocking and travel restrictions.
Sanctions against the IRGC
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, is branch of Iran’s armed forces, which enforce the current regime and control the economy to fund terrorist organizations. Within the IRGC, there are many different groups responsible for acts such as monitoring citizens, smuggling weapons and drugs, and providing weapons and training to militias in Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Because of this corruption and under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, the United States has legal grounds to implement sanctions against Iran and can label the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
Levels of Corruption within Iran’s Current Government
Corruption within Iran does not stop with the IRGC. Many levels of the government are responsible for Iran’s current situation. All sectors of the economy are intertwined in a web of patronage, cronyism, and nepotism. The current despots of the Rouhani regime interfere with the judicial system, police, public services, property rights, taxes, customs, and more, whether it’s through bribery, embezzlement, and even ensuring organizations like the IRGC are tax-exempt. Iran’s current economy is crumbling because all of these branches of government are at very-high risk of corruption, and President Trump’s pressure is also exacerbating this.