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America continues sanctioning the shit out of Iran

Trump says he’s going to make Iran suffer “the highest level” of economic hardship by implementing sanctions which forbid trade and “hit at the core areas of Iran’s economy”.

What it means: The US government has just put more economic sanctions on Iran (a first lot were put in place three months ago). Economic sanctions are rules which stop businesses and governments from buying certain goods or working with certain businesses in another country. These latest sanctions by America target Iranian oil, gas, ports, ships and banks, as well as some high-profile Iranian individuals, including government officials.

The latest American sanctions also stop its people and companies from buying and/or working from/with foreign firms that do business with sanctioned Iranians and Iranian industries. Because most foreign businesses care much moreabout being able to work in America than Iran (America is bigger and richer), that means American sanctions effectively stop Iran from being able to sell sanctioned things to almost anyone.

That will make Iran poorer: exports (anything it sells abroad) made up 22.5 percent of its GDP (gross domestic product; the total worth of all the goods and services a country produces in a year). Oil and gas, which American sanctions are particularly targeted towards, made up 80 percent of those exports.

The end result is that America is making Iran have billions of dollars less to spend - money that could have been spent on schools, hospitals, welfare and other things that make Iranian lives better. But America justifies its actions by insisting that Iran would spend that money developing nuclear weapons that it would use to threaten or hurt Americans.

Tbf, there’s good reason for them to think this - Iranian leaders have spent years building up their nuclear capabilities while referring to the US as the “great Satan” and calling for “death to America”. (Iran says it only wanted nuclear technology for nice things like generating power. Basically nobody believes them.) But in 2015 Iran signed a deal with America promising not to develop nuclear technology anymore in return for no more economic sanctions. Independent inspectors say Iran stuck to that deal. But new President Trump said Iran couldn’t be trusted, hence the re-imposed sanctions.

Read our explainers on free trade and foreign direct investment.

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