“This is the Year of Economic Jihad” declared Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei last spring at the beginning of the Persian year. The New Year’s announcement was meant to encourage the Iranian people to increase their efforts and jumpstart an economic boom, but with the year not yet over, Iran’s economy is “booming” in a very different way. Less than a month after American sanctions targeted Iran’s Central Bank and financial sector, Iran’s economy is crumbling.
On Monday, January 23, the European Union agreed to ban new contracts on the import, purchase, and transport of Iranian crude oil. The Europeans also decided to freeze assets of Iran’s central bank. The next day, Australia’s foreign minister announced that “Australia will follow the European Union’s lead in banning oil imports” and that it will be “imposing a range of other sanctions” as well.