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People in Ganj Ali Khan bazaar Image Credit: Getty Images

Things have reached such a stage in Iran that even the president, Hassan Rouhani, admitted in public that his country is confronting its most severe economic challenge in 40 years. Admitting that a problem exists is a good step in trying to solve it. But he clearly showed that his regime is not alive to the real issue at hand by saying that the Iranian government “should not be blamed” for the crisis.

Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran last year after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the international nuclear accord reached with Tehran in 2015, calling it a “horrible one-sided deal”. He also cited repeated Iranian destabilising activities in the region. And this is the crux of the matter.

Ever since sanctions were reimposed, Iran’s economy — hardly strong to begin with — has experienced a meltdown, with runaway inflation and high unemployment. Under pressure from the US government, many European companies have stopped operations in Iran that they had started after the signing of the nuclear agreement.

Suddenly, thousands of Iranians are without the prized jobs they have obtained when these companies began their operations in the country. Banking sanctions have had some of the biggest impact as they have led to an almost complete freeze on foreign investment and access to international credit. Above all, the oil sanctions have more than halved Iran’s crude exports, its main source of income. In a year, the Iranian rial has lost 70 per cent of its value against the dollar.

Iran is to blame for its current woes. The government has squandered the country’s considerable human and hydrocarbon resources in the pursuit of a transnational agenda that has brought misery not only to other states in the region but also to the Islamic republic itself.

Iran is an ancient civilisation — it has a rich history and its place in the region is undeniable. It’s people are talented and it has an abundance of natural resources. Given this, it is all the more unacceptable that the Iranian population should be subjected to such privations as a result of the destructive policies pursued by their government. Its unceasing interference in the affairs of neighbouring states, and continuous destabilisation activities in the region have become a very serious source of concern for Arab and international powers.

For Iran to reclaim its place in the comity of nations, its government much learn to behave itself.