US sanctions damaging Iranian economy, foreign ministry spokesman says

The US’s latest sanctions against Tehran practically crippled Iran’s financial sector. Above, vendors at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar say business has slowed due to the sanctions. (AFP)
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Updated 14 October 2020

US sanctions damaging Iranian economy, foreign ministry spokesman says

  • Latest round of US sanctions targeted 18 major Iranian banks

DUBAI: The American government’s latest round of sanctions against Tehran is doing damage where it hurts most – the Iranian economy, a foreign ministry spokesperson has said.
Saeed Khatibzadeh said that “these decisions and sanctions have caused serious monetary and financial damages to Iran” despite the government “working for months to stop such shocks,” in a report from broadcast service Radio Farda.
The US’ Office of Foreign Assets Control, which administers the sanctions, has targeted 18 major Iranian banks identified as “an additional avenue that funds the Iranian government’s malign activities.” These banks practically represent Iran’s entire financial sector.
The latest punitive measure pulled the Iranian rial to a new low against the US dollar to as much as 317,000 rials per greenback on Sunday on the unofficial market.
The currency has lost about 57 percent of its value this year, compounded by Iran’s coronavirus crisis whose more than half a million cases is the highest in the region.
Khatibzadeh said that “the United States must make up for all the damage it has done to Iran. Iranian people should not doubt that we will seek compensation for all damages cent by cent.”
“The damage incurred on Iran is filed in the bill submitted to the International Court of Justice,” Radio Farda quoted the Iranian official.
Khatibzadeh however admitted that the sanctions have terrified many private companies, which has created additional problems for Iran.


Pan-Arab poll: Biden better for region, but must shun Obama policies

Updated 49 min 23 sec ago

Pan-Arab poll: Biden better for region, but must shun Obama policies

  • Majority of respondents to Arab News/YouGov survey consider neither candidate good for region
  • Findings show strong Arab support for Trump on Iran but not on Jerusalem embassy move

RIYADH: Nearly half the respondents in an Arab News/YouGov poll conducted in 18 Middle East and Africa (MENA) countries believe neither candidate in the upcoming US elections will necessarily be good for the region.
Of the rest, 40 percent said Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden would be better for the region while 12 percent said the same thing about incumbent President Donald Trump. But a key takeaway of the poll is that if Biden, who served as vice president to Barack Obama until 2017, wins the White House race, he would be well advised to shed the Obama administration baggage.
When asked about policies implemented in the Middle East under the Obama administration, the most popular response (53 percent) was that the Democratic president left the region worse off, with another 58 percent saying Biden should distance himself from Obama-era policies.
The study surveyed a sample of 3,097 respondents online to find out how people in the MENA region feel about the Nov. 3 US elections.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Containing Iran was found to be one of the top four issues that respondents wanted the next US president to focus on. Strong support for Trump both maintaining a war posture against Iran and imposing strict sanctions against the Tehran regime was noticed in Iraq (53 percent), Lebanon (38 percent) and Yemen (54 percent), three countries that have had intimate regional dealings with Iran.
President Trump’s 2017 decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem proved overwhelmingly unpopular, with 89 percent of Arabs opposing it. Surprisingly, in contrast to most other Arabs, Palestinian respondents inside the Palestinian Territories indicated a greater desire for the US to play a bigger role in mediation with Israel.
Arab opinion was largely split on the elimination this year of Iran’s regional “satrap” Gen. Qassem Soleimani, with the single largest proportion of respondents from Iraq (57 percent) and Lebanon (41 percent) seeing it as a positive move, as opposed to those in Syria and Qatar, where most respondents — respectively 57 percent and 62 percent — saw it as negative for the region.

Iran also figured in the list of perceived threats to US interests, although well behind white nationalism (32 percent) and China (22 percent). The other critical challenges for the US as viewed by Arabs were cybercrime, radical Islamic terrorism and climate change.
For a country that touts itself as an ally of the US, public attitudes in Qatar were found to be surprisingly out of sync with US objectives in the Middle East. The perception of radical Islamic terrorism, Iran and Islamist parties as the “three biggest threats facing the region” was much softer in Qatar compared with the region as a whole.
It came as little surprise that three quarters of respondents want the next US administration to make it easier for people from Arab countries to travel to the US. The figure for Lebanon, for instance, was even higher, 79 percent, underscoring concerns that many young Arabs are actively trying to leave the region.
Among other findings, Arabs remain overwhelmingly concerned about such challenges as failed government (66 percent) and the economic slowdown (43 percent).
Close to half of the respondents (44 percent) would like to see the next US president focus on empowering young people in the Arab region and solving the Arab-Israeli conflict (44 percent), followed by containing COVID-19 (37 percent), reining in Iran and Hezbollah (24 percent), quashing radical Islamic terrorism (24 percent) and tackling climate change (17 percent).