Iran and its never ending history of sanctions
Iran, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is second only to North Korea among countries that infamously suffer the highest number of sanctions globally. For this piece, we define sanctions as political and economic tools which are employed by the United Nations and other continental unions, as well as individual countries to elicit the desired course of action or response from an individual, country or group of countries. North Korea, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, and the Central African Republic are some of the other countries under heavy sanctions by one or more of the United Nations, European Union and one or more countries of the world.

Sanctions in the past have proven to be effective in enforcing international laws and maintaining global peace and order, hence, they are still very much in use today. Finland in 1958 changed some of its policies to have sanctions imposed on it by the old Soviet Union lifted-off. The strict international sanctions imposed on South Africa during its apartheid regime effectively brought an end to the racial discriminations which largely characterized the era. While the various sanctions on Iran have helped bring it to the negotiation table, we consider the long history and series of sanctions Iran currently suffers.

With the first sanction in place

Iran has over time been subjected to quite many sanctions for reasons ranging from nuclear weapon development programs, arms proliferation, and other activities which undermine global peace. In December 2006, the United Nations’ Security Council adopted a “Resolution 1737”, calling on all member states to intercept all dealings in materials considered part of its nuclear activities. This first round of sanction also involved member states freezing the financial accounts and assets of countries or entities involved with Iran in its nuclear enrichment activities.

With the first sanction in place and Iran appearing unyielding, the Council decided to harden sanctions on the country, placing an outright ban on its exportation of arms. It took this a step further by imposing travel restrictions on people involved in Iran’s nuclear activities, this round of sanctions was known as the “Resolution 1747”. An additional “Resolution 1803” adopted in March 2008 necessitated close monitoring of the dealings of Iranian national banks. It also approved the inspection of cargo carriers of Iranian origin, if there was enough evidence to believe they are carrying items prohibited by earlier sanctions.

The European Union (EU) first imposed

In mid-2010, fresh sanctions were initiated and imposed on Tehran, prohibiting the purchase of heavy weaponry such as attack helicopters and missiles. Dealing with Iranian banks and entities were more carefully scrutinized, and travel restrictions on Iranian individuals were also toughened. This final round of sanctions does not include economic sanctions such as commodity trade restrictions and oil embargo and hence bear no economically crippling consequences.

The European Union (EU) first imposed sanctions on Iran in 2007, for its nuclear development activities and reports of human rights violations. Iran has been continuously subjected to sanctions not merely because of its nuclear enrichment activities, but its refusal to fully comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA has always sought to ensure that these activities are towards developing positively impactful nuclear capacity, such as electric power generation and in the field of medicine. Iran’s continued refusal continue to stoke fears that it is undergoing learning the know-how of nuclear weaponry development. The European Union, therefore, has fully enacted all of the United Nation’s sanctions, as well as other additional measures in a bid to force Iran to comply.

In 1979, the West-friendly Sharh political

Apart from concerns about the development of a nuclear arsenal, the human rights situation in Iran which has continued to deteriorate since the 2009 presidential election. A crackdown following the election further led the European Union to impose sanctions on about 60 individuals believed to mastermind and directly involved.

In 1979, the West-friendly Sharh political structure was toppled in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution and a theocratic government was subsequently put in its place. The hostile events that followed, particularly the Iranian hostage situation where a group of radical students invaded the United States Embassy in Tehran and held hostages, raised global concerns. This led the United States to impose a trade embargo and the first round of sanctions on Iran, freezing assets, deposits, golds and other valuables domiciled in the US. The sanctions and embargo were lifted in 1980 under an agreement known as the Algiers Accord which also necessitated the release of hostages.

Iran and its never ending history of sanctions

Another round of sanctions was imposed on Iran by the US for its activities in the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s, prohibiting weapon sales to the Middle Eastern country. This came after Iran was deemed to have instigated attacks on vessels belonging to the United States and other countries in the Persian Gulf. The allegation that Iran was secretly aiding and funding activities of terror groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad also came to the fore. In March 1995, the ban further prohibited investment in the Iran energy sector, and later restricted outright trade and investment in Iran in May of the same year.

Worthy of mention is the fact that although Iran has refused to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities, these sanctions have effectively censured and kept it at bay. Iran has been unable to acquire the highly sophisticated and specialized materials and inputs necessary to further its nuclear programs. The Iranian oil sector has also suffered by being kept at a production volume that is well below its capacity. This is because it has been unable to develop the sector as a result of its inability to procure improved production machinery which would have improved production and efficiency.

Overall, the effect of international sanctions on Iran has been both economically and politically devastating. The global embargos on international trade, freezing of national bank assets, and disconnection from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) framework have hindered economic growth. Since 2011 when the sanctions thickened, the Iranian economy has fallen in global competitiveness, recorded about 40% inflation rate, and witnessed a real contraction of around 10%.

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