As of yesterday morning, the first phase of American sanctions against Iran has come into effect. These are not international sanctions, rather they are measures imposed by Washington on the international community. As the U.S. says, "I am the superpower and the world has to obey, or else!"
The sanctions were reimposed on Iran by President Donald Trump, who pulled the U.S. out of an international nuclear deal with Iran whereby the Tehran regime had agreed not to develop nuclear weapons.
The first phase of the sanctions targets access to U.S. banknotes and key industries such as carpets and cars which experts say will not cause any immediate economic turmoil. But a second tranche of sanctions will come into effect on Nov. 5 covering Iran's vital oil sector which experts say may be far more damaging, even if key customers such as Turkey, China and India have refused to significantly cut their purchases.
The Western allies of the U.S. have joined a chorus of protesters against the sanctions but Trump is unmoved. He feels with such sanctions he can scuttle the Iranian economy and force the exit of the Mullahs' regime. That is wishful thinking.
Past sanctions against Iran have been counterproductive. In the past the Iranian people, who are unhappy with their regime and who felt their oil money was being misspent by the Mullahs, have been forced to put aside their differences because of the sanctions and strengthened national unity and solidarity in view of the external assault much to the dismay of the Americans.
It is true that the Iranian people are not at all happy with the fact that their regime has spent at least $25 billion for the Iranian military presence in Syria and have spent similar amounts in Iraq and in Yemen. They feel such money should be spent for the prosperity of the people of Iran and hence there have been street protests.
Iran has also failed in Iraq where Shiite Muslim Arabs have been on the rampage in the southern parts of the country and especially in Basra accusing the pro-Iranian leaders of corruption and mismanagement.
In Syria the Russians have gained the upper hand pushing the Iranians away from the Golan Heights in a deal with Israel.
So things are looking bad for the Tehran regime. Yet when the U.S. intervenes like this it only serves to strengthen the ranks in Iran and force people to unite against the West, especially the U.S.
This will only serve to embolden the Iranian regime and make it more defiant. The Arab states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and even Kuwait who are now applauding the sanctions could face the wrath of the Mullahs. Iran could well limit the oil exports of these countries by blocking the Hormuz Strait. It could trigger domestic dissent and violence in all these Arab countries.
Turkey has always stressed that sanctions against Iran have been and are counterproductive. Turkey has always tried to mend fences between the West and Iran all the way back to the days of the rule of Turgut Özal. Turkey feels the people of Iran suffer more under these sanctions and Turks are not ready to see their brothers and sisters in Iran be penalized like this. We are a nation that cannot sleep when our neighbors are suffering. So Turks will have to resist these sanctions, not only because our economic interests and convenience as a neighbor of Iran, but also as their eternal brothers and sisters.