Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has acknowledged that US sanctions on Iran have created a “real economic crisis” in Iran but haven’t changed the behavior of the government.
“Our sanctions on Iran have created real economic crisis in the country, and Iran is greatly suffering economically because of the sanctions … Has that forced a change in behavior? The answer is much less than we would ideally like,” Yellen said at a congressional hearing on Thursday.
History shows that sanctions do little to change the governments they target but always hurt ordinary people in the targeted country. For example, UN experts said last month that more Iranians are dying from thalassemia, a congenital blood disorder, due to Western sanctions that deprive them of specialized medicines and the ingredients to make them.
Despite the failed policy in Iran, Yellen said the US was looking for ways to strengthen the sanctions even more. The Biden administration has followed the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran and has imposed a large number of new sanctions.
Iran has found some relief by increasing oil sales to Asia, and the US has been trying to target those deals in some of its new sanctions. The US has also ramped up sanctions on Iran over Tehran’s growing military relationship with Moscow, which is a natural result of both countries facing similar Western pressure.