Yellen: Sanctions Kill Iranians and Don’t Work So Let’s Impose More

By  David Henderson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday the United States was looking at ways to strengthen its sanctions against Iran, but acknowledged the sanctions had not resulted in the behavioral or policy changes Washington desires from Tehran.

This is from David Lander and Kanishka Singh, “Yellen: Iran’s Actions Not Impacted by Sanctions to the Extent US Would Like,” March 23, 2023.

Lander and Singh continue:

“Our sanctions on Iran have created real economic crisis in the country, and Iran is greatly suffering economically because of the sanctions … Has that forced a change in behavior? The answer is much less than we would ideally like,” Yellen told lawmakers in a hearing on Thursday.

Dave DeCamp writes:

History shows that sanctions do little to change the governments they target but always hurt ordinary people in the targeted country. For example, UN experts said last month that more Iranians are dying from thalassemia, a congenital blood disorder, due to Western sanctions that deprive them of specialized medicines and the ingredients to make them.

Despite the failed policy in Iran, Yellen said the US was looking for ways to strengthen the sanctions even more. The Biden administration has followed the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran and has imposed a large number of new sanctions.

This is from Dave DeCamp, “Yellen Says US Sanctions Have Created a ‘Real Economic Crisis’ in Iran,”, March 26, 2023.

DeCamp is right to state, “History shows that sanctions do little to change the governments they target but always hurt ordinary people in the targeted country.” That is the approximate bottom line of Kimberly Ann Elliott, Gary Clyde, Hufbauer, and Barbara Oegg, “Sanctions,” in David R. Henderson, ed., The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. I’ve also written about sanctions here.

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