President Obama’s announcement of even more sanctions against the Iranian government was virtually uniformly praised among political leadership, and the argument that Iran’s government was circumventing previous sanctions was largely accepted as justification.
The argument has some validity. Indeed, most indications are that the Iranian government has been able to find workarounds on many of the sanctions, and the desperate efforts to halt the flow of crude oil from the country seem to be doomed to failure.
Nevertheless, every new round of sanctions takes a toll on the civilian economy of Iran and cripples private industries that don’t have access to the loopholes that state industry does. This has fueled inflation, unemployment, and, increasingly, soaring food prices.
Iran’s state oil company is still shipping crude, but the cooking oil that Iranian companies buy from abroad isn’t getting in so easily. Corn and rice shipments are down, payments to suppliers are defaulting, and once again the US sanctions have made Iran’s civilian population even more desperate, with no one to turn to but the government.