Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh dress up the same failed sanctions approach as a “new approach” to Iran:
Since sanctions became serious in 2018, Iran has seen major demonstrations without protesters venting against America. The clerical regime views these protests as potential rebellions; we should, too.
The Biden administration says it wants to amp up the U.S. commitment to democratic values abroad. The biggest potential return on investment is in Iran. Mr. Khamenei’s selection of Mr. Raisi should tell the White House it has nothing now to lose by trying.
It would almost be amusing that Gerecht and Takeyh refer to this as a “far more moral and practical foreign policy” if it weren’t so morally bankrupt and evil. The US has been inflicting collective punishment on more than eighty million Iranians in a vain bid to compel their government to capitulate on a wide range of issues. All Trump-era sanctions remain in place. The strangling of the Iranian people has not stopped. I don’t know if impoverishing and starving innocent people is a “political loser” in this country, but I do know that it is a malicious, cruel, and inhumane policy that decent people should abhor. As usual, Iran hawks propose the same mindless and destructive policy of causing massive harm to the Iranian people and then spout a lot of empty rhetoric about supporting the people and promoting human rights.
Iranian protesters have plenty of legitimate grievances against their own government, but no one should think that the US isn’t deeply mistrusted and resented because of the economic war that it has been waging on the people. The 2021 Iran Poll survey had a lot to tell us about Iranian public opinion on sanctions and the US The report on the survey stated:
Nearly half say the US sanctions have had a “great negative impact,” and over four in five say the sanctions have had a negative impact “on the lives of ordinary people.” These levels are almost unchanged from 2019.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.