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Hooman Majd: Another View on Sanctions Against Iran
Foreign Affairs | January 10, 2012

Hooman Majd: Another View on Sanctions Against Iran

UPDATE: Hooman Majd talked to Foreign Policy about the impact of Iranian sactions on their society. Watch the video HERE.

In a recent NPR interview, Hooman Majd
discussed the effects of new economic sanctions on regular Iranian citizens. A frequent visitor to Iran and the author, most recently, of The Ayatollah’s Democracy, Majd is one of America’s foremost experts on U.S.-Iranian relations. On NPR, Majd spoke of new U.S. sanctions against Iran's central bank as well as a proposed ban on Iranian oil imports by the European Union—all attempts, he notes, to limit Iran's economy in the hopes of swaying policy. As Majd explains, the forgotten element in the maneuvering of international politics is the ordinary person—the shopkeeper looking to feed his family. He points out that for most Iranian citizens, international relations are the least of their concerns:

If you're just living your daily life, what you’re concerned with most is the economy—and you're concerned most with domestic politics, not with international relations as much. Although, in the last four months, there was a serious affect on people's psyche when it came to the sanctions. I mean, I saw it myself. You walk by these foreign exchange bureaus, and people are standing outside looking at the flat screen television showing the rial—which is the Iranian currency—slide against the dollar almost hourly. The thing that you bought yesterday at a store—for example, an Oral B toothbrush, something as simple as that, or toothpaste—is suddenly not available in Tehran, because the sanctions have prevented the importers from bringing them in. But also, the price of goods in general, including even domestically-made goods and domestic products such as fruit, vegetables, and stuff like that, have been rising almost on a daily basis. And people are feeling that.

Majd brings a refreshingly wide scope to the discussion of U.S.-Iranian relations. He reminds us that the country isn't wholly represented by the current regime, and that the Iranian people are too often ignored by international leaders both foreign and domestic.
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