Radio Sputnik discussed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statements on Iran with Brahma Chellaney, strategic thinker, author and political commentator based in New Delhi.
Sputnik: In your view, what effect will the newly re-imposed US sanctions have on Iran's economy?
Brahma Chellaney: It could have a crippling effect on Iran's economy because it could force a number of other important trading partners of Iran to reduce the links with Iran or even cut off the trade ties with Iran. The fact is that the Americans, by slapping Iran with punitive sanctions, are aiming to choke its economy.
The Iran sanctions have a larger geostrategic intent and these extraterritorial sanctions are designed to gradually throttle the Iranian economy and increase the geopolitical power of US allies in the region like Saudi Arabia.
Sputnik: What industries will be the most affected or are we looking at a blanket of all the different industries? It seems that the USA is really ratcheting these sanctions up from the latest news and, as per what you're saying, it's really going to damage Iran, isn't it?
Brahma Chellaney: Absolutely, but I think that sanctions that take effect today aren't going to be as crippling as the second set of sanctions that will take effect from early November when the shipping and petroleum-related sanctions kick in. That's when the Iranian economy is going to feel the real pressure. Today's first round of sanctions is a warning shot to Iran from the Trump administration, which has an obsession with Iran.
But the Trump administration is doing the opposite by building up problematic states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE and seeking to undermine Iran. That really means that these Wahhabi states that are exporting fundamentalism and terrorism to different parts of the world, their power has been boosted, while Iran is sought to be weakened.
Sputnik: Iran has loosened its currency regulations in a bid to offset the damage; do you think that these measures will be effective?
Sputnik: How will the US refusal to cooperate with Iran affect Teheran's ties with other countries, such as India? These are the strategic ones that Iran has — India, China and the European Union — these are the three key trade [partners] that have retained the JCOP. What's your feeling about those main trade ties — India, China and the EU?
Brahma Chellaney: The EU doesn't buy too much oil from Iran now, but three-quarters of Iran's oil exports go to four Asian economies — China, India, South Korea and Japan. South Korea and Japan are going to, for sure, obey the American sanctions. India is going to feel a lot of pressure because Iran is a very important supplier of oil to India. It's a traditional supplier of oil to India and it cannot afford to snap its energy ties with Iran.
So these US sanctions are going to compound India's foreign policy challenges, especially as to how to balance India's relationships with different powers. But I think the main beneficiary of the US sanctions on Iran will no doubt be China. For one, there will be more Iranian oil for China. China is already the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, but now, because China has said very clearly that given Trump's tariff war against Beijing, China will not obey the American sanctions. It has no reason to adhere to the American sanctions, so there'll be a lot more Iranian oil for Beijing.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.