May 22, 2018


After Iran deal exit, average Iranians worried about the future (Shaghayegh Rostampour May 21, 2018, Al Monitor)

As for ordinary Iranians, "gloom" appears to be the word of the day.

In his May 8 deal withdrawal announcement, President Donald Trump addressed "the long suffering people of Iran," characterizing his policy toward the Islamic Republic as one that "benefits all of Iran." He concluded his remarks by saying that "the future of Iran belongs to its people." A similar sentiment was echoed in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's May 21 outlining of the new US strategy toward Iran.

Among ordinary Iranians, there now seems to be a shared sense of distress, frustration and anger. These sentiments are clear whether at friendly gatherings, family visits, chats during taxi rides or heated dialogues among colleagues.

Sepideh Pourakbar, a young mother who works from home in the city of Karaj, 20 miles west of the capital Tehran, bitterly laughed off Trump's remarks, telling Al-Monitor, "Future? What future? Does he really care about us? I cannot believe that. My heart sank the very night I heard Mr. Trump's speech. I knew nothing good would come of it."

Young Iranians do not disagree with the notion of being in charge of their fates. "I do believe that the people of Iran are in charge of their future and are assets to their country," said Amirhossein Andalibi, a software engineer who works at a startup in Tehran. "We need equipment, software and hardware to work on applications or sites, for the sake of the country's development. But much of what we are looking for cannot be found here due to the sanctions in place."

For some, the impact of the reimposition of US sanctions is even more imminent. Forough Mahmoudi Darvish speaks up about her worries of not being able to find the medicine she needs for her thalassemia blood disorder. The US embargo on Iran does not include medicine, medical devices, food and certain agricultural commodities. But Iranian markets, still reeling from the sanctions imposed prior to the implementation of the nuclear deal, appear frozen as businesses contemplate how to best proceed amid the uncertainty.

"I have to take mycophenolic acid pills sold under the brand name Suprimon. With the recent tensions and the surging exchange rate, pharmacies seem to be withholding the drugs because they don't know at what rate they should be sold," she told Al-Monitor.

Although Darvish sees mismanagement and corruption as the direct cause of her predicament, she told Al-Monitor that she also believes the situation is an indirect outcome of US sanctions and the fear of an upcoming war. "Only the salespeople might benefit from this situation."

But putting certain well-connected elites aside, small business owners do not appear to be beneficiaries of the present situation. Pouya Khajenasir, a 22-year-old who works in a clothing shop in the city of Qazvin, just over two hour's drive northwest of Tehran, said his sales have dropped dramatically. "I know things are about to get worse with this new fiasco," he told Al-Monitor.

Posted by at May 22, 2018 4:36 AM