Iran Sanctions Flipped 'On' ✅

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Iran: you can't sit here anymore

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Iran, following Trump’s earlier withdrawal from Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal. The sanctions will target automobiles and metals and restrict US imports of Persian carpets and pistachios. The measures come in the midst of ongoing Iranian protests over deteriorating conditions and a weakening currency. 


A quick catchup

The 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal relaxed US and European sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear programs. The Trump administration has long scorned the deal and believes that the sanctions will force Tehran to act like “a normal country”. The administration said it is open to talks if Iran will engage in a deal truly committed to ending nuclear proliferation.

Those who support sanctions against Iran believe that they will have the added benefit of toppling an oppressive regime. Articles believe the sanctions will ultimately get the Iranian people what they want: a stable and representative government. While the sanctions are not multilateral, this side is confident that they will be effective since multinational companies will be faced with the choice of trading with the US or Iran. Boeing’s expensive exit from contracts with Iranian airlines is provided as an example.

Those who are against sanctions on Iran fear that the administration is overusing them as an economic tool. They emphasize that using the tool unilaterally is ineffective if allies don't follow. They also condemn the sanctions as a political attack on the Iranian regime that ultimately hurts its people. They point to the sanctions as another example of the US increasingly isolating itself and resorting to punishment over diplomacy.

Rethinking American exceptionalism

While Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal received criticism for limiting the use of US global power, Trump’s sanctions implicate American exceptionalism - the idea that America is unique, special and exception. America has assumed an obligation to utilize its superpower status to defeat “bad actors”. However, making the Iran “regime” the bad guy--something Obama sought to eradicate--may just be a proxy for overblown politics, absent of a legitimate physical threat.

American exceptionalism + accompanying stereotypes

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