Trump’s going to make the Russians, Saudis, and a great number of U.S. oil companies hundreds of billions of dollars - as he heads into his re-election campaign.
By James DiGeorgia
U.S. sanctions are having an economic impact: Iranian oil exports are down, the currency has plummeted about 60 percent in the past 12 months, and foreign investors are steering clear—including China, which suspended investment in a natural gas project. The expiration of sanctions waivers will limit Iran’s trade opportunities still further, which will make life more difficult for Iranians already experiencing shortages of meat, medicine, and gasoline.
Despite the economic hardship, Iranian conservatives are tightening their grip on power the way Iraq’s former leader Saddam Hussein did when U.S.-backed United Nations sanctions crippled his economy for more than a decade. Less than two weeks after the terror designation, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed General Hossein Salami, a commander known for his bellicose rhetoric, as head of the Revolutionary Guard. In the wake of perceived threats, Iranian politicians are closing ranks and rallying behind the IRGC, and Iranian nationalism is also on the rise. Trump’s maximum pressure policy “will mostly push Iran to translate its military power and influence into long-term economic cooperation to circumvent sanctions,” says Heidarali Masoudi, assistant professor of international relations at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University.
“The Guards are consolidating power because the national security environment in Iran justifies why they should take control of media, of intelligence, and the like,” says Vali Nasr, dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “In an ironic way, Trump is achieving regime change in Iran, but not the one he wanted.”