When it comes time to discuss broader geopolitical affairs, it can be easy to become desensitized to the issues at hand, particularly if these issues are happening across the ocean. The United States government and the government of Iran have been engaging in verbal and political sparring for the past several years. Led by President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, tensions in the Middle East have been growing increasingly hot. Stepping outside of broader political discussions, however, will reveal that everyday citizens in Iran are being impacted by heavy sanctions. Let’s take a closer look at Iran’s population to understand how the Nuclear Deal, sanctions, and geopolitics are impacting their lives.
With reports indicating President Trump’s willingness to pursue military action against Iran, tensions have been raised to an almost insurmountable level. With that being said, it is the dominant impact of sanctions that has regular Iranian citizens afraid of where their next meal will come from. President Trump promised to implement ‘maximum pressure’ via his sanctions and that has caused utility bills to rise nearly 30% for average, everyday Iranian citizens. Compounding increased utility bills, monthly rent for apartments has doubled and, in some cases, even tripled as a result. The focus of President Trump’s sanctions was on the energy, banking, and shipping sectors. The decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal essentially caused a seismic shift in day-to-day life for the people of Iran.
While discussions on the impact of economic sanctions are hard to have in the immediate aftermath of their issuance, there has been a two-year gap since President Trump withdrew America from the multi-group agreement. The resulting inflation of nearly 37% has rained havoc down on people in both rural and urban Iran. To read further about the complexities surrounding Iran, sanctions, and the United States, referring to journalists like Amir Handjani who cover the Middle East daily can be a great place to begin.
On a broader level, the impact that President Trump’s sanctions are having can be hard to quantify. President Trump levied his maximum pressure efforts toward Iran’s reserve of natural gas and crude oil. As you may well know, Iran has the fourth-largest reserve of crude oil on the planet as well as the second-largest reserve of natural gas, falling behind only Russia. Thanks to President Trump’s efforts, Iran’s ability to move their most proven products has been limited. According to financial experts, Iran’s oil industry makes up more than a third of the $80 billion government budget. As the movement of oil slows down, the government of Iran will be forced to cut from social, welfare, and military expenditures.
Despite the sworn statements by the United States that sanctions would not impact the average Iranian citizen, the truth has been anything but. As families scrape together enough money for food while sacrificing in every other facet of their life, the desire for an agreement between the United States and Iran will likely begin to take precedence.