Originally posted by sh76
It worked for Qadaffi (for over 20 years, anyway)
And then what happened? Blackmailers don't stop blackmailing because you pay the first time.
Here's a more realistic view:
First, although Iranian sanctions are harsh, other economies have withstood harsher economic pressures in the past and there is no shortage of regimes under sanctions which have survived without changing their course – North Korea, Zimbabwe and Cuba, to name but a few.
Second, if sanctions were to be judged by their adverse impact on the population at large their "success" would be a foregone conclusion. The tightening noose has already led to shortages in essentials such as some food items and medicine precipitating panic buying. Similar sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein pushed millions below the poverty line, increased infant mortality and stepped up the brain drain without altering the government's foreign policy.
Third, precisely how economic sanctions are expected to "work" is not always clear. Two main explanations seem to be on offer. First, an implicit assumption that sanctions help the economic and political cycles to converge (ie, economic hardship will bring about internal implosion); and second, that they help alter the balance of the costs and benefits associated with undesirable policies (in this case Iran's "'nuclear ambitions"
by raising the former and diminishing the latter.
The problem is that the first of these "mechanisms" flies in the face of evidence: both the "Arab spring" and Iran's 1979 revolution followed periods of relative prosperity, not deprivation and hardship.
Similarly, the cost-benefit rationale overlooks the fact that ideologue regimes like Iran tend to have a high pain threshold and may be willing to take a big hit against their population without yielding in their international stance. Despite growing economic pain, there seems as yet no overriding reason why the Iranian regime might back down on its nuclear stance.
Economic sanctions – whether in Iran or elsewhere – are ultimately flawed because of the way they operate: as collective punishment they penalise the very victims of the target regimes who might use the spectre of external threat to quash internal dissent.
As with so many sanctions in recent history, the sanctions against Iran are clearly proving capable of destabilising the economy and inflicting pain on ordinary people, while the prospect of achieving their stated objective of nuclear non-proliferation in the region remains elusive.