Almost 6 months after President Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal describing it as "defective", the United States re-imposed on November 5th, 2018 further sanctions against Iran. The new sanctions, which mainly target the Iranian oil and banking sectors, are "the toughest ever imposed by the US on the Islamic Republic", according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Washington had already imposed the first batch of sanctions against Iran last August, a decision which prohibited any country or foreign firm from entering the US markets in case they chose not to wind down their economic ties with Iran. The recent US decision, however, has granted temporary oil-import exemptions to eight countries, including Iran's neighbouring country.
In late December 2017 and early 2018, a wave of public protests flared in various cities throughout Iran due to the rise in prices, increase in unemployment and deterioration in the country's economy in general. Even though dozens were killed and thousands detained, the protests have not ceased in the meantime, although they are less intense and frequent than before. Analysts view this series of protests as the largest in Iran since the demonstrations against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
The Iranian opposition parties anticipate that the most recent US sanctions, although marred to an extent by the exemptions decision, will shortly put an end to the current Iranian regime.
In an interview with 7Dnews, Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement for Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), who survived a recent assassination attempt by the Iranian intelligence service in Denmark, said that the best way to combat the regime's terrorism was to support the struggle of non-Persian nations.
"The new sanctions imposed against Iran will certainly hold back the government and its influence inside and outside Iran to a great extent as they will eventually cripple the economy and curb the country from further expanding its regional and world projects", al-Tostari added, noting that the Revolutionary Guards had a parallel secret economy which the sanctions should target as well.
The spokesman of ASMLA also voiced support for any international action against what he described as "the unjust, terrorist regime that is closely similar in ideology and practice to Isis.”
Regarding the impact of the US sanctions on Iranian citizens, al-Tostari told 7Dnews that everybody would definitely pay the price. "No matter how serious the repercussions are for the time being, they are inevitable, and in the long run, these sanctions will benefit those who are presently being oppressed by the existing regime,” al-Tostari added.
When asked about his opinion on the controversial exemptions granted by the US to some oil-importing countries, the ASMLA spokesperson justified the US decision saying that those exceptions were given after several negotiations and that they were just temporary until those countries find alternatives. "It's an essential move to win the support of those countries", al-Tostari added.
In his capacity as the ASMLA spokesman, al-Tostari unveiled the movement's plan to win over the supporters of the Revolutionary Guards to join hands against the regime.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, Abdullah Mohtadi, said that the sanctions would shake the "already-flagging economy of Iran". He considered the newly-imposed sanctions as a severe blow to Tehran, stressing that "the present economic crisis is an outcome of the regime's policies not the sanctions."
In a statement to 7Dnews, Mohtadi said, "the sanctions will aggravate the domestic crisis as it will undoubtedly enrage the public opinion, and consequently lead to conflicts within the regime itself."
The Komala Secretary General said that the Iranian opposition parties whether in Iran or exile are gearing up for any upcoming developments or changes. "The Kurdish opposition is now joining hands and reformulating the Kurdish political movement", Mohtadi said.
"The Kurdish and Iranian people will react swiftly to the new events as a number of demonstrations have already been staged across the Iranian cities protesting against the increase in unemployment and spread of corruption, something which is expected to continue in the light of the deteriorating economic crisis", according to Mohtadi.
In an interview with 7Dnews, Engineer Mozafar, a member of People's Mujahedin of Iran, said that, "the US administration has repeatedly announced that its sanctions do not aim at overthrowing the Iranian regime, but only 'changing its practices' as Pompeo earlier put it."
"Sanctions alone cannot lead to the downfall of a regime; this is the duty of the Iranian people together with the opposition parties. The sanctions only pave the way for the Iranians to achieve this goal." Engineer Mozafar said.
"In a speech on November 3rd, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, could not hide the regime's concern about the potential effect of the sanctions on Iran's oil exports, which is likely to cripple the regime's economy." Mozafar from the People's Mujahedin noted.
According to Mozafar, the current oppressive regime relies mainly on the revenues of oil exportation, and by having sanctions imposed on it, the regime will have to ramp down its repressive practices and terrorist financing. "This will eventually expose the conflicting regime's gangs and lead to the uprising of the Iranian people who will refuse to be made a scapegoat of."
For his part, the Balochi human rights activist Mullah Majeed told 7Dnews that the sanctions came at a time when Iran was already suffering from domestic problems, economic crises and ongoing protests. Speaking on behalf of his people, the Balochi activist said that the Balochi people's outrage is reaching its peak as they suffer from marginalisation, poverty, unemployment and above all, executions. "The sanctions will categorically lead to a surge in prices of all products all over Iran, which will spark a new wave of public protests, expected to be more violent than ever before, culminating in the toppling of the regime.”
Thus, most of the Iranian opposition parties expect the second batch of US sanctions not only to put further pressure on Tehran but also to drive the current regime out of power.