Notwithstanding the showcase rhetoric, the new American sanctions announced on 10 January 2020 are clearly meant to punish the people of Iran for their failure to overthrow the regime.
Here is the summary of the press release issued by the US Department of Treasury on 10 January 2020
The new sanctions apply to:
- Mobarakeh Steel Company (biggest steel producer in the Middle East and the biggest direct reduced iron producer in the world. Mobarakeh Steel Company produces more than 50 percent of Iran’s steel in all major markets.)
- Saba Steel
- Hormozgan Steel Company
- Esfahan Steel Company
- Oxin Steel Company
- Khorasan Steel Company
- South Kaveh Steel Company
- Iran Alloy Steel Company
- Golgohar Mining and Industrial Company
- Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Company
- Arfa Iron and Steel Company
- Khouzestan Steel Company
- Iranian Ghadir Iron & Steel Co
- Iran Aluminum Company (first producer of aluminum bricks in Iran, and accounts for approximately 75 percent of the country’s total aluminum production volume)
- Al-Mahdi Aluminum Corporation
- National Iranian Copper Industries (leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa region)
- Khalagh Tadbir Pars Co
In addition, eight Iranian officials, three China- and Seychelles-based entities; and a vessel involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products have also been designated under the new sanctions.
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As per the press release, these sanctions are aimed at the “additional sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles.”
Even after sifting the entire press release through the finest sieve, one can find only a single reason for attacking these sectors: They are making profit.
Here is the link to the press release: Treasury Targets Iran’s Billion Dollar Metals Industry and Senior Regime Officials
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The USA has obviously run out of options. These sanctions are an act of desperation.
Of the eight officials in the new list, some were already under sanctions. They have just been re-designated.
According to the data published by TradingEconomics, 31.92% of the total workforce of Iran is employed in the industry, one of the newly sanctioned sectors of economy.
The wage and salary workers in Iran are 55.15% of the workforce. As the new sanctions gain momentum, they will add to the previous sanctions in creating a new wave of joblessness. This is exactly the thing the USA hoped for when announcing the sanctions on Friday.
Some 44.85% of the workforce is self employed. Many of them are part of the supply and/or service chain. If construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles sectors suffer as the consequence of new sanctions, the opportunities for the self employed people will shrink automatically.
The average unemployment rate is 12.06% in the population whereas the unemployment among the youth (age 15-24) is 28.58%. The unemployment in youth is more than twice compared to the general population.
According to the data from WorldAtlas, 30% of workforce and 45% of industrial firms are located in and around Tehran. Tehran is where the US authorities hope that expanded and prolonged protests will ultimately bring down the regime.
The actual goals of the authors of the new sanctions:
- More joblessness in Iran; fueling more anger and resentment
- Massive increase in the unemployed youth in and around Tehran to feed the protests against the regime
- Total collapse of economy
There are ways to run the gauntlet without suffering much damage but it would require an intricate and agile mix of diplomatic, political, economic, and public-outreach maneuvers. It remains to be seen whether the authorities in Iran can do it. /// nCa, 13 January 2020