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Iran bows under growing economic pressure



The problems in Iran are increasing. His currency, the rial, has lost more than half of its value against the dollar in the unofficial markets this year, and inflation is rising. Even the middle-class Iranians are struggling with rising food prices and reports of fuel shortages in some cities. Sporadic anti-government demonstrations continue.

Worse, economic pressure on the country will increase. The US government reintroduced economic sanctions last week under the 2015 Iranian Nuclear Agreement. These punitive economic measures will intensify in November as the US attempts to ban Iran's oil exports. The EU states are committed to maintaining economic relations with Iran. But it seems likely that most large European companies will sacrifice trade with Iran instead of risking secondary sanctions.

The US government says its goal of imposing sanctions is to force Iran to make deeper concessions to its nuclear program to stop its military and political intervention in neighboring countries ̵

1; particularly in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

Tehran accuses that the Trump government's ultimate goal is a "regime change". It has some justification for his suspicions. John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor, claimed last week that changing the regime in Iran is not America's goal. Before joining the government, however, Mr Bolton had explicitly called for the overthrow of the Iranian government.

Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the clerical regime has been guilty of serious human rights abuses, mismanagement and support for terrorism and uprisings in the region. The Iranian people and the Middle East deserve better.

However, it would be much preferable for Iran to embark on a more liberal and open regime through a process of internal reform and not as a result of overwhelming outside pressure. The history of Iran and the Middle East warns that sudden violent changes of government have rarely led to happy results – especially if they had external sponsors.

The results of the Iranian Revolution, the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the Syrian uprising in the same year all offer premature hopes and subsequent violent repression. America's intervention in Iraq in 2003 freed the country from Saddam Hussein, but at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and the rise of the Islamic State.

The current pressure on Iran runs the risk of freeing political forces that undermine hope for moderate reforms while strengthening hardliners on both sides. Of course, things could take a more hopeful course. But it would be a huge risk for outsiders to deliberately promote regime change.

The US has legitimate foreign policy goals that it could drive through economic sanctions. However, the paper supported the Iranian nuclear deal and continues to believe that the Trump government has misjudged an agreement that stopped Iran's progress towards nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump's offer to Tehran of unconditional talks does not completely cut short on diplomatic path. Iran will be extremely reluctant to make further concessions on the nuclear issue and is unlikely to give up its regional allies in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. However, increasing economic pressure and dissatisfaction in the country could force a reassessment. An Iran willing to focus on important internal reforms, rather than its regional ambitions, would offer its people a better future.


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