by Tahir Mustafa (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 12, Rabi' al-Thani, 1437)
No matter what one’s opinion of Islamic Iran, the fact is that it has stood by its vision and principles and gained its reward, of course not without sacrifices. Nothing great can be achieved without first offering sacrifices. Let us look at some hard facts.
Researching the circumstances and details of the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions by the imperialist powers immediately brings to mind two Qur’anic instances: Surah al-Fath, through which Allah (swt) declared the Treaty of Hudaybiyah as fathun mubin (clear or manifest victory). The 27th verse of the same surah says, “Allah has fulfilled His Apostle’s vision in all truth.” The noble Qur’an declared the Treaty of Hudaybiyah as fathun mubin when not a single sword had been unsheathed!
Looking at the fact that due to the illegal and politically-minded sanctions, Islamic Iran has now gained access to $32 billion, which it involuntarily saved, immediately leads to remembering the Qur’anic instance where Allah (swt) states in Surah al-Baqarah, “Fighting is ordained for you, even though it be hateful to you; but it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you; and Allah knows, whereas you do not know” (2:216). Most governments in the world today would dream of having $32 billion in hard cash.
While the nuclear related sanctions inflicted economic damage on Iran, it also provided some tangible economic benefits. For instance, Iran reduced its oil dependency from 70% to 20% and significantly improved its tax collection system. In 2015 alone Iran’s non-oil exports rose by 14.1%.
As a result of sanctions Islamic Iran also managed to focus on the development of its own manufacturing sector. Unlike Washington’s regional puppets, Islamic Iran possesses a significant domestic weapons industry. While under severe sanctions, in 2012, total sales of the top 100 Iranian companies amounted to $215 billion, which was 30% higher than in 2011. Even according to the US dominated World Bank, in 2014 the Iranian economy expanded by 3%.
Basic facts show that NATO-imposed sanctions were not going to allow the imperialists and Zionists to overthrow the representative government in Iran. This was and is the ultimate objective of NATO powers. In fact, sanctions made Islamic Iran stronger in the socio-political arena. The Brookings Institution, the so-called “independent” US think tank which often acts as an unofficial Washington mouthpiece but tries to mask its true nature, declared in 2011 that as a result of sanctions Islamic Iran became more assertive.
So what now? No one with a semblence of a reasonable understanding of global politics in Tehran or abroad would deny that NATO’s goal remains the same; that is, to overthrow the Islamic governing system of Iran. Basic observation of NATO’s “independent” media and the policies implemented in the Muslim East by Washington and its surrogates clearly show that NATO’s crusading hostility toward Islamic Iran is far from over.
In the post-sanctions era, we are simply going to see a new phase of the war against Islamic Iran, that would be more sophisticated and a lot more delicate. Islamic Iran has gone through similar phases in its confrontation with imperialism in the past as well. Tehran witnessed the hot-war phase when Saddam Hussein, with US backing, attacked Iran, then endured a proxy war in South Lebanon, then the US occupation of Iraq, and now on its own doorstep, the war of foreign mercenaries in Syria. All the while, the ever warmongering and totalitarian US has been waving the “democracy” card. Iran passed all these phases with flying colours.
Going back to the essential question, what is likely to happen after the nuclear related sanctions have been removed? On the economic front the US will do its best to undermine the developing manufacturing sector by tying its essential aspects to foreign trade. Washington will also continue to undermine Iran’s defense capabilities as its latest sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile industry have shown. In terms of financial services, Tehran will continue to remain under partial sanctions, since Washington’s so called “security” sanctions are not part of the nuclear deal.
The NATO regimes will also continue to play the “human rights and democracy” card in order to destabilize Iran from within. In the post-sanctions era this will be the primary method of subversion and sedition against Iran, but Washington’s forced disengagement (read, retreat) from the region and its despotic alliances, along with Iran’s improved media and soft-power capabilities are not going to make this easy for the US and its surrogates.
On January 20, commenting on the most recent US sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif correctly pointed out that the US is “addicted to coercion.” This fact makes us believe that sooner or later sanctions will be re-imposed. The Islamic leadership in Iran understands this as well. Therefore, they will make the maximum effort to use this new phase to prepare for future possible sanctions. At the economic level, Islamic Iran will continue to boost its non-oil and manufacturing sector as this is part of the resistance economic plan outlined by the Rahbar (Guardian Jurist), Seyyed Ali Khamenei years ago. Iran will most probably continue enhancing its regional trade and boost its medical tourism sector.
Overall, the enemies of the Islamic Republic always underestimated Iran and the dedication of its people to Islamic principles and methods. Since Iran’s detractors function outside of the Islamic framework and norms, it is difficult for them to predict how the Iranian society and leadership will behave in particular circumstances. This is partly due to the fact that Iran’s enemies believe their own lies about the Islamic Republic. Even when Imam Khomeini openly declared his Islamic vision for Iran over a decade prior to the 1979 revolution, Western power centers dismissed it as “unrealistic” saying it will not appeal to the Iranian people. In 1979, millions of Iranians greeted Imam Khomeini upon arrival in Tehran where he came to establish the Islamic system of government, a system that he openly espoused and fought for, for decades.
Iran may have gained some sanctions relief but the hostility of the imperialist powers has not waned. It will continue to manifest itself in different ways. The leadership of the Islamic Republic cannot afford to lower its guard vis-à-vis these predatory powers.