By Payman Yazdani

U.S. sanctions impact on Iran is mostly psychological: Italian expert

July 15, 2018 - 11:34

TEHRAN - Italian expert Pastori Gianluca is of the view that Trump's unilateralism has a lot to do with his domestic considerations and the U.S. sanctions impact on Iran is mostly psychological.

Trump's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was signed by the U.S., Russia, France, Germany, China, UK and Iran was the clear breach of international law and norms.

His withdrawal from the JCPOA was not his first unilateral act in international arena. He had already pulled out of many international agreements such as Paris climate treaty, NAFTA and TPP.

To know more about the reasons behind his unilateral measures and possible impacts of the White House's new sanctions on Tehran, we reached out to political science associated professor of Milan Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Dr. Pastori Gianluca.

Following is the full text of our interview with him:

Q: Considering the fact that the EU and other parties to the JCPOA have announced that they will stick to the deal, will the U.S. sanctions be as effective as the sanctions on Iran before the JCPOA?

A: U.S. sanctions can undoubtedly affect Iranian economy, especially if they focus on capital goods. However, I think their impact is – first and foremost – psychological. The main aim of the JCPOA was to open a direct channel between the U.S. and Iran, overcoming the mutual estrangement that followed the revolution in 1979. The new sanctions impact on this point and fuel the opinion that things can never change, with negative consequences also in the economic realm.

Q: Washington has asked other states to stop buying Iran's oil. Will the U.S. be successful to force other states and companies out of Iran Market?

A: U.S. pressures could lead several states to stop their orders for Iranian oil. Secondary sanctions (i.e. sanctions targeting countries trading with Iran) could have the same effect, although I do not think their combined action would be able to push Iran out of the market. Once again, I think the main impact will be psychological. U.S. decision to break the deal could encourage Iran to retaliate, leaving the moderate path it is currently following, and this could mean the end of the JCPOA.

Q: Is the EU able to keep the JCPOA alive by its taken measures?

A: EU’s ability to keep the JCPOA alive is a matter of willingness. The nuclear deal is the main success of European diplomacy while European industries have a strong interest in the Iranian market. However, the European Union is facing a very difficult period due to its own domestic problems, and foreign policy currently ranks quite low in its agenda. I do not think that U.S. position could really affect the European attitude, but EU weakness can negatively reverberate on its support to the deal.

Q: What are the reasons behind the White House unilateralism in all fields?
A: Trump’s unilateralism has several reasons but I think it has a lot to do with domestic consideration. It aims at strengthening Trump’s position in his supporters’ eyes. His ‘muscular’ position is the opposite of Barack Obama’s ‘softer’ attitude and confirms the fracture existing between the two administrations. Moreover, in Trump’s political narrative, a ‘great America’ is an ‘all powerful America’, and an ‘all powerful America’ cannot be bounded by the ties of multilateralism.

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