The Myth of efficient Sanctions


The Myth of efficient Sanctions
by Hajminator

Sanctions on Iran were first imposed just after the takeover of the American embassy in Teheran. After 30 years of a gradually increasing number of sanctions, Iranians are now bearing the heaviest punitive measures in the world. These measures are mostly focused on the old system of Hawales (cash payments) which is not traceable by any financial watchdogs. But instead of all these coercive measures we are far from the first expectations and Sepah’s suitcases of dollars are more blooming than ever. There are several reasons for this paradox but the main points are:

  • Each day, 220 million dollars in oil revenues enter the Iranian funds, to which we must add 50% in sales of opium from Afghanistan passing through Iran and ending up in Sepah’s owned banks.
  • There are also some 100 tons of goods which are daily accosted in the major harbors of the country; Bandar Abbas, Bushehr and Abadan. The part of imported items which are manufactured in US is still estimated to 250 million dollars per year! Looking for sensitive equipments among all these importations is just like searching a needle in a haystack.
  • Iran has thirteen land and sea borders which are all under Sepah’s supervision. The volume of transactions from these borders varies in time and is intimately dependent to the state of the traffic on different borders. Further, the large informal trade between Dubai and Iran is estimated to 1.2 billion dollars annually and constitutes the main circumvention route of sanctions imposed to Iran.
  • There are several international banks, having no exchanges with the US and which still offer their services to Sepah owned companies with an interest rate of 10 to 15%. Dubai, and its 350 Iranian companies, remains again a sieve. Despite U.S. pressure, the emirate has built part of his fortune in cash and does not waive to end its cash transactions.
  • Finally, Sepah earns millions of dollars by simply selling items targeted by sanctions in black market n times their real price.

If after 30 years of tough sanctions, the repressive organ of the regime is wealthier than ever, can someone think that in a short amount of time – what is necessary for Mullahs to build their bomb – more sanctions will bring the regime into its knees? The results of the imposed sanctions are richer thugs and poorer people. Was this the initial aim of the sanctions? Though a notable diminution of their buying power, Iranians are fighting for their freedom and not feed. They are succeeding in an unprecedented struggle of a nation against barbarians. If the aim is to help people in their struggle against infamy, appropriate measures helping Iranians are much more efficient and easier to implement than blind sanctions weakening our compatriots.

1. The Cambridge History of Iran Vol. 7: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic
2. Report of the US Treasury designating Sepah in the traffic of Lethal narcotics


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Dear Mehrban,

by Hajminator on

I agree with you that what we are living constitutes a dark moment of our history. It is heartbreaking to hear and see the daily savagery that comes from Iran.

What I mean by “succeeding” is that after the events of the post election period there is an inflection in the development of events.

The regime has lost its mythic pillars on which it relied ideologically (here an excellent analysis of Dr. Bashirieh on this subject).

The deep divisions among different power circles have caused an irreversible malfunction in the regime’s weird and complex mechanisms of decision.

Gaps between the regime and people or the leading ayatollahs are deepening every day. There are several other indicators which are irreversibly in red. But the most important is that the regime is controlling the society by repression rather than governing it.

These are battles that people have won till now. It will take time before we observe the real effects but for me the most difficult part has already been achieved.

I am now convinced that Iranians will not give up until the final victory.


Dear Hajminator

by Mehrban on

I am with you until you say;

[They are succeeding in an unprecedented struggle of a nation against barbarians.]

How are Iranians succeeding?  How will they succeed in the future?  They are getting killed and raped but I am not sure if they are succeeding against IR.   Maybe they have been heard but .....

Also you say: 

[If the aim is to help people in their struggle against infamy, appropriate measures helping Iranians are much more efficient and easier to implement than blind sanctions weakening our compatriots.] 

I believe you mean publicizing IR's human rights failiures (and we should), If yes then okay we can and IR can ignore it.  Like they ignore other warnings and soft pressure.  

Sorry, I don't mean to spoil things but reality is niggling at me.  


Dear Ramintork,

by Hajminator on

Thank you for advancing the topic. You are absolutely right; I also think that the best actions are those which both give hope to people and erode the regime.

I believe that, though sanctions appear to weaken the regime, it seriously has the reverse effect of impoverishing people and comforting Mullah’s grip over the society.

You are again right to advocate "Human rights" as the major tool for eroding this regime. Last week Dr. Bashirieh was peeling why Mullahs's regime has lost its mythic pillars. And he talked about "the Islamic justice" as one of them: at its beginning, Mullahs tried to promote the Islamic ideology as a model of governance to the entire (and more especially to the Arab) world. By all the means, they tried to show themselves as the defendant of the weak. For this particular reason, they often moved back when the international community put the regime under pressure to either stop an execution or to release a political prisoner.

Now Mullahs know that this "Islamic justice" myth has crumbled and they can simply not afford to be pointed as a blood thirsty beast.

Advancing the illegitimacy of the regime, helping Iranians to maintain social networks, passing through the regime's censorship are also other double-effect tools that should be used to inflect Mullahs.


Thank you Hajminator

by ramintork on

No doubt that in a conflict with Sepah, Iranian people will be used as human shields, and with further sanctions IRI will show the hardship of our people for their propaganda and try to win sympathy.

I am not keen on sanctions but as a smart strategy to fight IRI, if sanctions are going to happen by the power of Western statesments then the Iranian community living in the West should turn it around and turn it to a campaign for Human rights for Iran and by doing so put this agenda on the table. To do this our community has to come out of its shell and get public support, at the moment other than one or two occasions such as the 3 day hunger strike Iranians in the West have not really reached the Western public, people in Iran have but we in Europe or US have not. If Iranians in the west do this, perhaps and only perhaps, people in Iran would feel more supported and come out in a massive general strike across the country and that would cripple and break the regime.




by Hajminator on

Thank you for your comments. We are victorious because we Love.

Ari jan sorry for the defunct link and Irandokht aziz thanks for posting the correct address.


Hajminator aziz

by IRANdokht on

Thank you for a great post and your sound logic.

Here's the link Ari:



Ari Siletz

Thanks Hajminator

by Ari Siletz on

Compassionate post.   FYI: On my computer, the Treasury Department reference link goes to an IC error page.  Would you kindly post the actual web address without linking it?

Fouzul Bashi

Haj miniator, thank you

by Fouzul Bashi on

Your concern for ordinary human beings is always alive and shines through. Excellent piece depicting the real targets of sanctions.


Well Said

by divaneh on

Sanctions will only hurt the ordinary folks. Engaging with Iran in all levels is the best long term strategy.