Iranian Sanctions An Actor-Centric Analysis
Plumer, Andrew G.
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Economic sanctions concerning Irans nuclear program are not having their intended political effect. Uranium enrichment continues despite sanctions. This thesis argues that international economic smart sanctions are failing because they are not altering the relative positions of power between the factional actors in the Iranian political economy, and because the actors who desire to continue enrichment remain in control of the economy and state institutions. The Iranian political economy is a clientelistic state, with differing rival autonomous patron-actors and associated client bases all competing for a larger slice of economic rents. Economic sanctions have failed because the more conservative actors and their clients have entrenched themselves in the economy and control of these rents, thereby diverting the costs of sanctions to their political competitors while simultaneously using sanctions to strengthen their own client base. Research indicates that while stronger economic sanctions could be designed, their chances of success remain unknown. Only a complete and thoroughly enforced embargo on Iranian petrochemical sales, with a simultaneous economic strengthening of reformist actors in the political economy, who are open to a nuclear enrichment policy change, will result in the political goals sanctions are designed to achieve.
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