In May-June this year, the US and its allies imposed unprecedented sanctions on Iran, aimed at making Iran give up its nuclear program and fall in line with the geo-political designs of the US and other western imperialist powers in that region. Acting both through the United Nations Security Council and regional or national authorities, the United States, the member states of the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, and others have put in place a strong, inter-locking matrix of sanctions measures relating to Iran's nuclear, missile, energy, shipping, transportation, and financial sectors.
These are the ninth set of sanctions that the Obama administration has imposed against Iran. It may be recalled that the United States has imposed restrictions on activities with Iran under various legal authorities since 1979, following the Iranian revolution. The most recent statute, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRSHRA), added new measures and procedures to the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The ISA authorizes sanctions on businesses or individuals engaging in certain commercial transactions in Iran.
The latest round of sanctions directly target the Iranian currency, imposing penalties on anyone facilitating "significant" transactions in the rial or holding significant amounts of the currency outside Iran. This is aimed at further weakening the Iranian currency, which has already fallen significantly relative to the US dollar in the past few years, as a result of the large number of sanctions against key sectors of the Iranian economy.
These sanctions ban the sale or transfer of goods and services to be used in Iran’s automobile industry, reported to be the second largest employer in Iran after the energy sector. This has been justified with the pretext that the auto sector could be used to procure “dual use” technologies that could potentially be used in the country’s nuclear program. They also include sanctions against eight major Iranian petrochemical companies (namely Bou Ali Sina, Mobin, Nouri, Pars, Shahid Tondgouyan, Shazand, Tabriz and Bandar Imam). US and European sanctions have already severely hit Iran’s crude oil exports, reducing them by more than half, causing Iran a loss of billions of dollars in revenue since the start of 2012. The recent sanctions are expected to further slash Iran’s oil exports.
These sanctions which will undoubtedly increase the hardships for the Iranian people, coming just a few days before the Iranian presidential elections scheduled for June 14, are a direct attack by the US and its allies on the Iranian government and people. Iran continues to be the biggest roadblock to the realization of the US imperialists’ plan for hegemony in the region.
The Iranian government and people have vigorously denounced the recent round of sanctions by the US and its allies, boldly declaring these attempts to force Iran to its knees as “futile” and saying that “every fresh round of sanctions is a sign that the previous ones have failed”.