President Donald Trump’s campaign of “maximum” economic pressure on the government of Iran has led to runaway inflation and has sapped the regime’s “willingness” to confront the United States militarily, the New York Times reported.
In an on Monday titled “Iran’s Grim Economy Limits Its Willingness to Confront the U.S.,” the paper noted that Trump’s sanctions have been “crippling,” leading the Iranian economy to shrivel by about 10 percent per year over the past couple of years.
“Crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have severed Iran’s access to international markets, decimating the economy, which is now contracting at an alarming 9.5 percent annual rate, the International Monetary Fund estimated,” the Times reported.
“Oil exports were effectively zero in December, according to Oxford Economics, as the sanctions have prevented sales, even though smugglers have transported unknown volumes,” it added.
The president reimposed additional economic sanctions on Iran last week following a missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq and the accidental downing by Iranian air defense crews of a Ukrainian airliner, which led to the deaths of all 176 people aboard.
The Times noted that the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration appear to be having the desired effect.
“The bleak economy appears to be tempering the willingness of Iran to escalate hostilities with the United States, its leaders cognizant that war could profoundly worsen national fortunes,” it said. “In recent months, public anger over joblessness, economic anxiety and corruption has emerged as a potentially existential threat to Iran’s hard-line regime.
“Inflation is running near 40 percent, assailing consumers with sharply rising prices for food and other basic necessities. More than one in four young Iranians is jobless, with college graduates especially short of work, according to the World Bank,” the paper added.
Protests have sprang up anew throughout Iran following the downing of the Ukrainian plane and tit-for-tat military exchanges with the U.S.
Trump ordered the targeting of al-Quds Force leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani earlier this month after an operation he reportedly conducted led to the death of a U.S. military contractor in December.