epaselect epa07138447 An Iranian woman walks past a mural depicting Iran's national flag in a street of Tehran, Iran, 03 November 2018. US President Donald J. Trump's administration announced on 02 November 2018, that it will reimpose sanctions against Iran that had been waived under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA). The US sanctions will take effect on 05 November 2018, covering Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors. In 2015, five nations, including the United States, worked out a deal with the Middle Eastern country that withdrew the sanctions, one of former US President Barack Obama's biggest diplomatic achievements.  EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
Iranians are already feeling the pinch as US sanctions on oil and banking come into effect. Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA

Iran’s economic woes came before sanctions

Iranians will wake up to a darker world today – but they have only their regime to blame. Months after US President Donald Trump abandoned the flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the second round of punitive sanctions takes effect. The Iranian economy was already struggling, with the rial's value plummeting 70 per cent in the past year, but the latest sanctions on oil, finance and banking will hit hardest. And neglected for years by their rulers, ordinary Iranians are already feeling the pinch.

This could have been avoided. The nuclear deal, signed by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, liberated hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian regime. But rather than spending the revenue on its people, by improving public services and growing the economy, Tehran ramped up its military adventures in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

No longer can Iran be allowed to destabilise the region while its people struggle to get by. “Our objective is to force the regime into a clear choice,” said Mr Trump. “Either abandon its destructive behaviour or continue down the path toward economic disaster.”

Sanctions provide a vital middle ground between diplomacy – which is fruitless with a bull-headed Iranian regime – and unpopular costly wars. But they do not work in isolation. Already eight countries have been issued waivers – among them Turkey and Iraq – to temporarily continue buying Iranian crude oil, while Russia and China will continue to trade in it. Meanwhile, the Iranian people will no doubt suffer as a result.

While Mr Trump has been adamant that food and medicine should not be affected, unscrupulous individuals have already begun hoarding vital supplies, while Iran’s central bank admitted that food prices rose 46.5 per cent in the year to September.

The regime will seek to exculpate itself by blaming the economic hardships its people are already experiencing on the sanctions, but remaining defiant under these new restrictions will prove difficult. True to form, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already chided foreign media for “filling people’s minds with false propaganda”.

Any measures to curb a power that is backing Houthi rebels in Yemen, preserving the Syrian regime and arrogating Lebanese institutions, are welcome. Mr Trump might partially be motivated by his desire to undo his predecessor’s achievements − these sanctions come into effect just one day before the vital midterm elections − but he must hold firm in the coming months. And sanctions must be part of a wider policy that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, and that draws the support of other regional powers.

Because if they do not curb Tehran’s behaviour, their only victim will be the blameless Iranian people, who have fallen casualty to their own government’s arrogance for far too long.

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Company name: Nybl 

Date started: November 2018

Founder: Noor Alnahhas, Michael LeTan, Hafsa Yazdni, Sufyaan Abdul Haseeb, Waleed Rifaat, Mohammed Shono

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Software Technology / Artificial Intelligence

Initial investment: $500,000

Funding round: Series B (raising $5m)

Partners/Incubators: Dubai Future Accelerators Cohort 4, Dubai Future Accelerators Cohort 6, AI Venture Labs Cohort 1, Microsoft Scale-up 

The Sky Is Pink

Director: Shonali Bose

Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Saraf

Three stars

Messi at the Copa America

2007 – lost 3-0 to Brazil in the final

2011 – lost to Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-finals

2015 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

2016 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

World Cup final

Who: France v Croatia
When: Sunday, July 15, 7pm (UAE)
TV: Game will be shown live on BeIN Sports for viewers in the Mena region

Most Read
Top Videos