Authoritarian systems are never static and the Islamic Republic of Iran, since its founding in 1979, has always alternated moments of extreme violence (1981-87) and attempts at reform (1997-2000).
The recent rise to power of Ebrahim Raisi, an ultra-conservative directly involved in the execution of 5,000 political prisoners in 1988, heralds a new era of regime closure. This tragedy is attributable to the foreign policy of the United States under Donald Trump.
In 2018, Trump suspended US participation in the Joint Global Plan of Action, the sophisticated agreement signed in 2015 to control Iran’s nuclear industry that combined multilateralism and science, and replaced it with a medieval regime of international sanctions that ignores much more basic recommendations. practices, such as humanitarian exceptions.
The change of direction has dramatically worsened the situation in Iran, which faces difficulties even in importing drugs and vaccines against the Covid, and has given new legitimacy to the project for power of the Islamic Republic, very shaken by the Movement Green, the social protest that paralyzed the country in 2009.
The political regression in Iran reveals the limits of the strategy of sanctions, the main instrument of international regulation since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This model is based on the weakening of government negotiations aimed at isolation. It’s a fantasy.
Tehran has resisted American pressure thanks to an alternative diplomacy of which Latin America is the cornerstone. In a move that accelerated after the pandemic, Iran has developed a strategic partnership with Venezuela, which it is helping to take over the decrepit oil industry in exchange for crude oil and gold.
All this movement is fueled by China, which willingly ignores trade restrictions and imports from these countries of around one million barrels a day. This triangular trade, supported by covert sea lanes and alternative financial networks, is so prosperous that Iran even has the luxury of taking risks against the United States. In early June, an Iranian warship en route to the Caribbean swerved to Africa only after Washington threatened to take “appropriate action.”
The policy of sanctions against Iran and Venezuela only served to guarantee the survival of the two regimes and to consolidate the existence of two international orders, one dominated by China and the other by the United States. United.
Soon, this whole discussion will reverberate into the Brazilian domestic debate. When Bolsonaro returns to using Venezuela as a scarecrow in the election campaign, the opposition will need to have a response to match the challenge. It is a question of recognizing the urgency of a democratic transition in Caracas, but also of denouncing the failure of the system of sanctions, by pointing out an alternative.
For Brazil, the return of a model of global governance based on multilateralism is not only the only way out of the ostracism in which it finds itself. It is also the only solution to avoid a new unwanted cold war in Latin America.
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