Next time you casually take out your Mastercard or Visa card spare a thought for people in Iran. The new sanctions have reduced them to being useless plastic. Before the June sanctions many merchants with know how would accept credit cards from their customers by using bank accounts in the Gulf Countries. But those bank accounts are now being targeted and shut down. Getting foreign currency to Iran has become a whole lot more difficult, as no financial institution wants to get itself on the wrong side of these sanctions. For a while the Rial has held up against the dollar. With this slow down in foreign currency coming into the country it dipped last month by 15%, forcing the government to inject dollars into the market, so reports the respected weekly journal, ‘The Economist.’
Sanctions aren’t just hurting ordinary people who want to use credit cards. Others are being hit too, such as carpet dealers who have long enjoyed an exception and been able to export to the USA. Those days are now over. From the smallest business, to the mega oil-giants sanctions are making decision makers think twice before dealing with Iran. Given that the present government thrives on being the outsider challenging Western hegemony, few tears will be shed in Tehran’s corridors of power for the further demise of Visa and Mastercard in their capital. But for ordinary Iranians, including all the Christians, sanctions are making life a whole lot harder.