On Monday, Nov. 5, after dropping a Game of Thrones-style poster in a Tweet, President Donald Trump foreshadowed he would be reimposing pre-Iran Nuclear Deal sanctions. The reimposed sanctions take aim at Iran’s oil, banking and shipping industry.
This is problematic and creates unnecessary economic tension in the Middle East and makes the United States look bad going into agreements and deals between other countries.
Since 2008, the United States has maintained a trade surplus with Iran. According to 2016’s gross domestic product per capita by Gapminder, Iran has a 43.2 percent trade of GDP, which means Iran’s economy is heavily reliant on trade. To put it in perspective, the United States had a 26.6 trade percentage of GDP in 2016. In 2016, the United States’ trade surplus with Iran was $84.2 million, whereas in 2018 it’s $232.9 million, according to the United States Census.
These sanctions were reimposed on the grounds that the Iran Nuclear Deal was one-sided and that Iran was not honoring the agreement. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran complied with everything agreed upon in the Iran Nuclear Deal. The Iranian government showed good faith and followed the agreement made with the United States.
Trump removed the United States from the Nuclear Deal back in May, but the most recent reimposed sanctions do not make much sense at all. According to 2018 data collected by Gapminder, Iran’s GDP per capita was $17,400 whereas the United States GDP per capita was $54,900.
The United States maintains a trade surplus with Iran with more GDP per capita, but these sanctions come from a position of power. Trump did not use the same tactic with Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This is because the United States has a $2.5 billion goods trade deficit with Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi track record of human rights violations in recent memory has been well documented. In a report from the United Nations Civil Rights Council, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and individuals in the Yemen government could be guilty of human rights crimes.
If the U.N. Human Rights Council finds that these nations could be found guilty of violations, paired with the Saudi murder of Khashoggi, then why has Trump not imposed sanctions on them? He instead slaps Iran with economic sanctions despite Iran being compliant with the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Trump should dial back his reimposition of the sanctions imposed on Iran and honor the Iran Nuclear Deal. By reimposing the sanctions, the United States pushes Iran towards potential superpowers like China or Russia. As of now, other nations from the Iran Nuclear Deal are looking for ways to maintain a trade relationship with Iran without the United States. Instead of strong arming Iran into renegotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump should be trying to maintain a friendly relationship with Iran through free trade.
By backing out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and imposing sanctions, Trump sends the message that the United States cannot be trusted. This is the world stage and not a reality television. The Game of Thrones advertisement about the sanctions coming was not cute or funny. The impact of economic sanctions on the Iran economy will have serious implications on the health of the communities of Iran.