Iranians suffering under International Sanctions

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Iran is sure to be raised during tonight's Presidential debate. While the US grapples over what course of action to take against Iran's nuclear ambitions, ordinary Iranians are suffocating under sanctions imposed by the West. We're heading to Iran to find out what life under sanctions is like, and who's really suffering.



Iranians suffering under International Sanctions - Borzou Daragahi

We started this segment with a clip from 25-year-old Iranian Soheil Sadat, who was sitting in a Tehran park one morning last week, explaining why he does not have a job. And the last voice was seventy year old Mr. Sadeqi. A retired municipal worker who now sells tea to make ends meet.

It's possible the Iranian government is being truthful when its says its running a peaceful nuclear program. It's possible someone believes them. But most of the world's governments act as if Tehran's pants are on fire and international sanctions have drawn a tight rope around the Iranian economy.

The value of the country's currency, the rial, has fallen sharply. The EU embargo on Iranian oil has cut exports in half since July. Inflation has soared; it may be as high as fifty per cent. The country's top medical charity warns of drug shortages for cancer, transplant and dialysis patients.

Many Iranian citizens are extremely frustrated and blame the West as well as their government. Borzou Daragahi is Middle East and North Africa correspondent for the Financial Times and we have reached him in Cairo where he is watching the situation in Iran.

Iranians suffering under International Sanctions - Reza Akhlaghi

The sanctions are clearly squeezing the Iranian economy -- but whether they're actually squeezing the people who run Iran is far from obvious.

Reza Akhlaghi is the Senior Writer on the Middle East for Foreign Policy Association. He was in our Toronto studio.

Iranians suffering under International Sanctions - Mark Dubowitz

Many Western analysts believe Iran is quickly running out of foreign reserves -- meaning it will no longer be able to buy necessary imports. Some diplomats anticipate the economy will implode by spring.

The sanctions no doubt cause a lot of suffering, but many believe these measures are necessary - and will effect change. Mark Dubowitz is the Executive Director of the Washington D.C. policy Institute the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies. He was in our Washington studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien and Ben Edwards.

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