Nationals say US sanctions hurt the people, not gov’t
While opinions differ across Tehran’s Grand Bazaar about the ongoing tensions between the United States (US) and Iran over its unravelling nuclear deal, there’s one thing those in the beating heart of Iran’s capital city agree on: American sanctions hurt the average person, not those in charge.
From an English-language teacher hoping for peace to an appliance salesman who applauded US President Donald Trump as a “successful businessman”, all said they suffered from the economic hardships sparked by reimposed and newly created American sanctions. The Iranian rial’s collapse has eaten into the savings of a retired bank clerk, while a young man with a shock of bleached-blond hair says those his age want to leave the country.
Iranians spoke to The Associated Press yesterday, a day after authorities acknowledged that the country had broken through the limit placed on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump pulled the US out of the deal a year ago.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have seen the US rush an aircraft carrier, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, F-22 fighters and thousands of additional troops to the Middle East. While Iran says it doesn’t seek war, it recently shot down a US military surveillance drone. Iran also now acknowledges an “intentional” disruption to GPS coordinates in the country by authorities, interfering with position data used by the US military for air strikes and drone flights.
Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67 per cent, which can be used for power stations but is far below weapons-grade levels of 90 per cent. Both Iran and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency confirmed on Monday that Tehran had broken through that limit.
While that represents Iran’s first major departure from the accord, it still remains likely a year away from having enough material for a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its programme is for peaceful purposes, but the West fears it could allow Iran to build a bomb.
Iran has also threatened for weeks to push its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if Europe doesn’t put forth a new deal to protect Tehran from US sanctions. As the stockpile and enrichment rises, the estimated year narrows.