Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





'I won't survive': Iranians reel from sanctions

By AFP 4/11/2018
By Eric Randolph and Kay Armin Serjoie

TEHRAN - Seventy-year-old Heidar Fekri has been selling industrial equipment from his small store in a Tehran bazaar since before the revolution, but for the first time he is not sure he can survive.

He means it literally: "My shelves are empty, my warehouses are empty and soon I will have to close the doors. This has been my entire life -- I won't survive long after the doors close."

Iran's economy had plenty of problems even before US President Donald Trump decided in May to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose "crippling" sanctions.

But that move exacerbated a record drop in Iran's currency, down 70 percent in the past year, and prompted an exodus of foreign firms.

Anticipation of the return of the oil embargo -- due to kick in on Monday -- has already plunged the country into recession and will see the economy shrink by 3.6 percent next year, says the International Monetary Fund.

For Fekri, who has been bringing in industrial pumps and drills from Europe for 47 years, the uncertainty means he has not imported anything for more than a year.

"Sales have dropped 90 percent compared with six months ago. The whole bazaar is suffering," he told AFP.

Almost all products in Iran -- from medicines to aircraft spares to plastic bottles -- is tied into the global supply chain, so the currency collapse and renewed isolation threatens every corner of society.

The government has been forced to provide food baskets to around half Iran's households as inflation soars.

- 'Bullying' -

For the middle class, perhaps the biggest blow is psychological, as the burst of hope that accompanied the nuclear deal in 2015 -- the promise of the country finally shedding its pariah status -- has evaporated.

"No one knows what the Americans actually want. We did everything they wanted and it wasn't enough. It feels like bullying," said Sam Cordier, head of PGt Advertising, which represents foreign clients such as British Airways and Nestle in Tehran.

Washington says the sanctions are designed to curtail Iran's "destabilising" activity in the Middle East, but many see them as an attempt to trigger a revolution.

"It's not fair for the Americans to incite violence. If this continues, all the professional businessmen with something to share through knowledge and investment will leave," said Cordier.

He was forced to sack six of his 30 staff and reduce salaries for the rest as, one by one, his foreign clients packed their bags.

"I was crying every 10 minutes when I told them. These are the people who are being hurt. Many young, educated people are leaving the country. There's a massive brain-drain," he said.

- 'Burned generation' -

There is plenty of hatred towards the Trump administration, but a surprising number of Iranians pin the blame on their own government for not better protecting them.

"Yes, America is doing bad things but they are looking out for their interests. If our state had looked out for Iran's interests, we wouldn't have the situation we have now," said Erfan Yusufi, 30, whose hip new coffee shop is struggling to cope with rising prices and falling demand.

Iran's leaders face a tricky balancing act, remaining defiant in the face of US pressure, while acknowledging the economic pain felt in the country.

"All of us understand people are suffering and under pressure," President Hassan Rouhani told parliament last weekend.

"We cannot tell our people that because of America's pressure, we cannot do anything. This answer is not acceptable." 

He blamed foreign media for "filling people's minds with false propaganda" about soaring prices, though Iran's own central bank says food prices rose 46.5 percent in the year to September.

For all the problems, there is little sign that Iranians want another revolution, not least because a sizeable number are still fiercely supportive of the last one.

Most others are fearful of violent unrest, cowed by the security forces or uninterested in doing the bidding of a foreign power.

There is instead a sad resignation among many young people, who often refer to themselves as the "burned generation" for having been denied the chance to realise their potential.

"I'm worried about the future," said Yusufi in his coffee shop. "Our generation starts each day not knowing what will become of us."


Data pager
Page size:
barbara huck | 4/11/2018
It isn't President Trump's fault, I agree. Each country needs to take care of their citizens. People can't blame the United States for everything.
Gfys | 5/11/2018
Yes and a year ago these same people, whining and crying today about "their international rights being violated" were rejoicing the embargo they put on Kurdistan region, after KRG held a perfectly legal and peacfull independence referendum. Don't think Karma is finished with you yet, hopfully the best is yet to come.
Guest | 5/11/2018
The world wants Iran to stop trying to acquire nuclear weapons and for Iran to stop conducting terrorist activities as a way to achieve its goals and objectives outside the country. There is no confusion about what the United States, or other nations, are trying to persuade the current Iran regime to do with the economic sanctions. And it isn’t just the United States. It’s the entire world.
Game | 5/11/2018
Not enough, they should be bombed daily, their soldiers are shooting at dead poor kurdish colbars daily on the border killing and wounding hundreds each year, just because they're trying to make a living for their family.
Kurdo | 6/11/2018
Iran is screwed but not the goverment, the people will fall. I actually went there and helped kurds as much i could but they where all just hatful towards me and eachother, the kurds that is. So many drug users and sellers are kurds, they force their children to make carpets to buy whores and drugs and in some tribes whole women smoke tirjaq. The kurds are lost and even if there is a revolotion they will get nothing. My hope is that persians take controll otherwise the ruler can be azeri/turks and they will enslave the kurds even more. Kurds in Iran are lost due to drugs and its opium and crystal meth, thats heavy drugs and not something you can quit easy. The reason why many kurds suffer is because they are xain against eachother, kurds are not loyal to them self. So you suffer. Do not blame others for your problems, this is what kurds are best at, they never blame them self and even their mom or dad, this childish behavior made kurds retards.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Pakistani | 2/16/2019 3:28:42 AM
Turkey is a terrorist state , has been killing innocent Kurds for ages ....
parasitePKK | 2/17/2019 3:54:11 AM
As long as the PKK is there Turkey has the right to defend themselves. PKK is a parasite against the Kurds.
Kurdish villagers driven off their mountainsides by Turkish airstrikes
| 15/2/2019 | (2)
josfe | 2/14/2019 4:59:43 AM
And this man is a graduate with masters ? A college kid would be more objektive and wouldnt let his own opinion shine through.
David | 2/17/2019 1:36:54 AM
Solid analysis and proposal!
Rojava and Turkey: A classic case in colonialism
| 13/2/2019 | (5)
guest2002 | 2/15/2019 8:20:41 PM
The attack was on armed forces . Since when that is called terrorism??? Mollas ruling Iran have terrified Iranians for 40 years now. They kill...
Erbilguy | 2/17/2019 1:17:06 AM
@guest2002 So Isis beheading peshmergas was not terrorism?
United Nations encourages states to help Iran after terror attack killed 27
| 15/2/2019 | (8)
Dutchman | 2/16/2019 11:33:33 PM
Macron is right. When Putin talks about an "inter-Syrian political dialogue" he means that Assad and his Alawit minority regime stays in power with...
Macron, Putin weigh ‘deteriorated’ situation in Syria
| yesterday at 11:58 | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Liberation of Afrin, return of original inhabitants a priority after ISIS: SDF 12 hours ago |

Liberation of Afrin, return of original inhabitants a priority after ISIS: SDF

"Stop the processes of demographic change" more
Gorran officially agrees to join new KRG cabinet 13 hours ago |

Gorran officially agrees to join new KRG cabinet

The Gorran agenda calls for sweeping reforms more
SDF: Foreign ISIS suspects will face justice in home countries 14 hours ago |

SDF: Foreign ISIS suspects will face justice in home countries

Trump called on European nations to take back more
0.469 seconds