Why Sanctions against Iran are Counterproductive: Conflict Resolution and State–Society Relations
Ali Fathollah-Nejad, “Why Sanctions against Iran are Counterproductive: Conflict Resolution and State–Society Relations“, International Journal, Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2014), pp. 48–65.
International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis (IJ), published by the Canadian International Council (CIC) and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History (CCIH), “is Canada’s pre-eminent journal of global policy analysis. It combines brief, policy-relevant articles with longer, peer-reviewed, scholarly assessments of interest to foreign policy-makers, analysts and academics in Canada and around the world.”
From the “Editors’ Introduction“
“We began work on an issue that would offer global perspectives on the always vexed controversies over nuclear weapons months before the 24 November 2013 “interim agreement” between Iran and the P5 + 1 powers. The recent development on Iran—and, in particular, the hopes and fears it has highlighted in global public and political discourse—adds a certain urgency to the views expressed in the essays that follow. […] Ali Fathollah-Nejad examines the effect of Western sanctions designed to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, focusing on the gap between the ever-hopeful discourse of their proponents and the often counterproductive results for Iran’s foreign policy, society and economy.” (Prof. Mairi MacDonald, Director of the International Relations Program in Trinity College at the University of Toronto & Dr. Adam Chapnick, deputy director of education at the Canadian Forces College and an associate professor of defence studies at the Royal Military College of Canada.)
This article critically examines the ramifications of the international sanctions regime against Iran on two fronts: the conflict pitting Iran against the West, and the impact of the sanctions on state–society relations. On both accounts, it finds the dominant narrative, according to which sanctions would facilitate conflict resolution while weakening the authoritarian state, to be misleading. Instead, it demonstrates, on the one hand, how sanctions have hardened the opposing fronts and therefore prolonged the conflict between Iran and the West, and on the other, how they have cemented the domestic power structure in the Islamic Republic and weakened Iran’s civil society.
- Article published in the peer-reviewed International Journal, Canada’s leading International Relations journal; plus epilogue discussing the reasons behind the November 2013 Geneva Agreement, where it is argued that U.S.-Iranian rapprochement is not primarily a result of the West’s sanctions policy, instead the emphasis is put on the significance of a re-ascendant foreign-policy school of thought in Tehran.
- The article ranks among the International Journal‘s Most-Read Articles during March (ranked 9th) and June (ranked 7th) 2014.
- The article was included in the German Bundestag’s 2012-2014 literature list on “Sanctions in International Relations” (p. 2), 30 June 2014.