By Bashir Esmaeili

Imposed sanctions, a rollercoaster ride for resilient Iranians for four decades

January 16, 2019

It’s been frenetic days with much ups and downs for the people of Iran; just like a rollercoaster ride whose peaks and valleys are determined by international events, a ride that thrills them one moment and devastates them the next.

For us Iranians, this is nothing new as we have lived with the ride for decades; however, the ride sometimes gets so intense that fear and hopelessness towards the future pressure us more than ever: just like these days. Anyone would get fed up with such a condition, even the strong and resilient people of Iran as they long for a lasting period of stability and peace.

Some may think the Islamic Republic of Iran has imposed such conditions on its people. For instance, Mike Pompeo along with other neoconservatives within the U.S. political apparatus claimed that the reasons for escalating international pressures on the people of Iran include the “regime’s adventurism” in the Middle East as well as supporting resistant groups which they assume terrorist. Ironically, the Saudi ruling family also claims the same thing about Iran. On the other hand, Netanyahu has been busy publishing wild videos of him wherein he talks of the Iranian “water crisis” and soccer team in an attempt to unify the Iranian people against their establishment.

Is it really the Iranian establishment which is bringing about the imposition of sanctions and international pressure by adopting erroneous foreign policy? Let’s find an answer to the question through the lenses of geopolitics and or National Security and territorial integrity.

Living among the wolves

Iran is located at one of the most critical geopolitics of the world. She neighbors some 15 countries— a number beaten by only Russia and China. Iran has neighbors who are not only aggressive but also wish to see the downfall of Iran. This is not an only contemporary issue: the threat has been there for centuries, sometimes more intense and at times decreased. Even though the ancient civilization of Iran has always miraculously survived, Iran of today looks like someone who has been stumbling but has not given up.
If Iran were—let’s say—in Scandinavia in place of Norway or Denmark, any unfavorable move within the international order would be rendered as adventurism? Nevertheless, Iran being located at the heart of the chaotic Middle East where issues such as oil, the establishment of the Zionist regime and the presence of the US, Britain and France’s fleets have worsen the traditional problems of the region, she is thrown into an imposed situation which requires the establishment to take a responsive reaction.

Deterrence in the face of a disturbed balance of power

When Israel unveiled their ultra-modern F 35 fighter jets not long ago, new military power dimensions of the Zionist regime were revealed. On the other hand, the Saudi air force possesses a growing collection of advanced war planes including the Squadron F 15—which happens to be the biggest squadron of the world, second only to that of the United States. This is while the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force has been struggling with sanctions and sabotage for the past few decades—since the 1979 Revolution to be precise—coming from the enemies who have accelerated their military power and equipment on a daily basis.

This unequal balance of power leaves Iran with missile power and regional asymmetric combat forces—such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, as her only deterrent options. This is exactly what the West introduces as Iran’s tool of adventurism and interference in regional affairs; promising her if she gives up on supporting these resistance groups in the Middle East, it will ease the economic siege and sanctions.  

Well, can any country enjoy deterrent power against enemies armed to the teeth without missiles and ‘guerrillas’? Iran has not attacked a single country in centuries, yet it has been regularly invaded or menaced by others, sometimes leading to the loss of land—and of course soldiers.

The U.S. Secretary of State and his counterparts say if the Iranian “regime”—located at such a chaotic region— gives up on its deterrent power, they will lift sanctions and pressures.

Once upon a time, after the end of the Cold War, NATO denuclearized Ukraine over the promise of guaranteeing her security. The new government in Ukraine, dreaming of economic boom with the help of the West, embraced the offer with open arms. Today, after about three decades since denuclearization of Ukraine, the country is not only one of the most impoverished economics of Europe but also divided!

In the international system, security of a nation is neither up for negotiation nor can be compromised—particularly for Iran given the critical geopolitical location. Iran has always come out of the toughest crises victorious; it will once again do—just like the previous millenniums.

Bashir Esmaeili PhD is an Assistant professor of International Relations at the Islamic Azad University of Shahrazad. He is a regular contributor to Iranian journals and an award-winning satirist. He can be contacted at: Bashir_esmaeili@yahoo.com

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