How they see us: U.S. alone in sanctioning Iran
The U.S. is gunning for Iran, said Le Monde (France) in an editorial. The usually erratic Trump administration has pursued a policy of conflict with Tehran with an unusual relentlessness. The first step, “diplomatic warfare,” came in May with President Donald Trump’s unilateral pullout from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 deal struck by Iran, the U.S., China, France, Russia, Germany, the U.K. and European Union to severely limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for sanctions relief. Next came “psychological warfare,” in the form of menacing tweets from Trump threatening Tehran with “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered.” And this week came “economic warfare,” as the U.S. reimposed sanctions against Iran, targeting financial transactions, imports of raw materials, and the auto and airplane sectors. In November, Iran’s vital oil exports will be sanctioned. But what is the goal? Trump claims he wants a much tougher deal than the one signed by President Barack Obama, one that would require Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions and curb its interference in Syria and Yemen. Yet since Trump has reneged on one treaty, Tehran has no incentive to agree to another.
This time, the U.S. stands alone in its attempt to impose sanctions, said China Daily (China). International monitors have confirmed that Iran is in full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, so the U.S. had no grounds to go “stomping out of the room like a spoiled child.” The rest of the signatories are staying in. China will continue to buy Iranian oil, and while Trump has threatened to close the U.S. market to any European firm that trades with Iran, the EU says it will protect companies hit with American sanctions. Iran, meanwhile, has its own economic weapons, said Kayhan (Iran). President Hassan Rouhani has warned that if the U.S. blocks Iranian oil sales in November, Iran could shut down the Strait of Hormuz—the narrow waterway in the Persian Gulf through which some 20 percent of the world’s oil flows. Our forces held military drills in the strait this week, and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps says it can counter all “potential threats and adventurism by the enemies.”
But the threat of sanctions is already hurting Iranians, said Sara Saidi in L’Orient–Le Jour (Lebanon). Many multinational companies that do business with the U.S., such as France’s Total, Germany’s Siemens, and India’s Reliance Industries, are closing Iranian operations. The rial has lost more than 50 percent of its value since April, and food prices have soared, with meat costing 80 percent more than it did a few months ago. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in recent days, some chanting “Death to high prices and inflation.” Many young people want to emigrate. The mood on the street is “far from the enthusiasm aroused by the nuclear agreement three years ago: Donald Trump has crushed all hope.” ■