It is reported that the United States may lift some of the sanctions imposed on Iran in good faith to pave the way for a new agreement on Iranian regime's nuclear program.
But we should examine what effect the lifting of any sanctions will have on Iran, and if Iranian people will profit from this or any money will be spent for them!?
It is clear that Iran's economy is currently collapsing. According to the World Bank Group Iran had a negative economic growth of 6.78% in 2019. Currently, inflation is above 50% and is increasing daily, because of sanctions, more than 40% of the projected budget for this year has no source of revenue at all. With this situation, it is clear that a lot of pressure is being put on the Iranian people.
According to the head of the regime's Higher Institute for Social Security Research, who has told a bit of truth, currently, 30% of Iran's 85 million people live below the absolute poverty line. A member of the Economic Commission of the parliament in 2017, when the economic situation at that time was not as bad as today said, 80% of Iranians live below the poverty line.
So ostensibly the lifting of sanctions will improve people's lives and reduce the pressure on them! But this is not the case at all! Because the regime's backbone is based on institutionalized corruption and the leader of the regime, Ali Khamenei, and his son Mojtaba are the main culprit of all corruption and theft on the top.
Javad Mansouri, the first commander of IRGC, former regime ambassador to Pakistan, member of the Islamic Revolutionary Documentation Center, former Azad University Vice Chancellor for Culture, former Asia and Pacific Deputy Foreign Minister, former Iranian Ambassador to China once said; "Even if gold would fall from the sky but we would not have meritocracy and the rule of law, the situation will be the same." ». Of course, it is clear by meritocracy and the rule of law, he meant the prevention of corruption and theft, which is abundant at all levels of government.
This means that if all sanctions are lifted and no other restrictions are imposed on Iran, no money will be poured into the pockets of Iranian people, and whatever is gained from the sale of oil or other items such as petrochemicals, steel, etc., will pour into the pockets of certain regime’s agents and will be spent towards regime’s expansionist goals and influence in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, etc.
Regime will spend these funds on its proxy forces such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Yemeni Houthis, Hashd Al-Shaabi, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Assa’ib Al-Haq in Iraq, the Fatemion of Afghanistan, Zaynabion of Pakistan and so on.
Currently, the most important sanctions that have reduced the Iranian regime's foreign currency earnings are the embargo on the sale of oil and petrochemical products. On top of that the embargo on banking transactions prohibits any kind of financial exchange with Iran. As a result, Iran cannot sell its oil (the main source of income) and pocket the funds. Moreover, large amounts of money from previous sales of Iran’s oil are blocked in different countries’ banks and have been taken out of Khamenei's reach.
It is noteworthy that the Iranian regime has also not yet agreed to sign a membership agreement with the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), although it knows that without membership in this international body, which was established to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, even their serious allies, such as Russia and China, are no longer willing to trade with the regime as they once did.
But because the regime wants to keep on sending money to its proxy forces, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, which are on the list of terrorist forces, as well as laundering money it carries out in Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries, has refused to join this financial Task force.
This clearly shows the regime's intention in using the proceeds from the lifting of sanctions. As we saw, when Iran and the United States reached an agreement in 2015 and the sanctions were lifted, the United States sent billions of dollars in cash to Iran and the regime was able to sell its oil for a few years, but Iranian people’s living condition did not improve. And only a handful of regime leaders' associates have made incredible incomes in such a short period of time and their aristocratic lives are now not even comparable to those of the Beverly Hills millionaires.
But the regime's lobbies in the United States, who feast on mullahs' money, ostensibly sympathize with the Iranian people, blaming existing sanctions for Iranian people’s plight and pressure the US government to lift sanctions as soon as possible to release the people from economic pressure! But with these facts, The American government falls for this ruse and should not be influenced by these seeming sympathies in any way, because the majority of the Iranian people want regime change and not a so-called “deal” with this regime.
This demand is loud and clear and can be seen in the large-scale campaign by the majority of people to boycott the regime’s June 18 presidential election.
Cyrus Yaqubi is a Research Analyst and Iranian Foreign Affairs Commentator investigating the social issues and economy of the middle east countries in general and Iran in particular.