It’s Monday and that means a new round of Iran sanctions. The virtually weekly ritual of President Obama or the Treasury Department announcing a new round of sanctions took place today, with announcements of large-scale sanctions against anyone involved in Iran’s auto industry and anyone caught using Iran’s currency, the rial, for “significant transactions.”
Officials from the Obama Administration say that “the objective is to take aim at the rial and to make it as unusable a currency as possible, which is all part and parcel of our efforts to apply significant financial pressure on the government of Iran.”
The move against the auto industry makes sense in this regard because it is Iran’s second largest industry, after petrochemicals. The efforts seem to be targeting Iranian civilians however, which the administration has long insisted was not their goal.
Indeed, Iran’s government has long since stopped using the rial as a currency of account for overseas transactions, preferred to use gold ever since banking sanctions precluded the use of anything else. The US has promised to sanction the gold trade, but the practicality of banning trade in a metal seems dubious at best.