How Sanctions Work: Iran and the Impact of Economic Warfare

How Sanctions Work: Iran and the Impact of Economic Warfare event poster
Date & Time Apr 03 2024 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
Location Robertson Hall
Bowl 001
Narges Bajoghli
Vali Nasr
Audience Open to the Public

Sanctions have enormous consequences. Especially when imposed by a country with the economic influence of the United States, sanctions induce clear shockwaves in both the economy and political culture of the targeted state, and in the everyday lives of citizens. But do economic sanctions produce their intended objectives? Comprehensive sanctions are meant to induce uprisings or pressures to change the behavior of the ruling establishment, or to weaken its hold on power. But, after four decades, the case of Iran shows the opposite to be true: sanctions strengthened the Iranian state, impoverished its population, increased state repression, and escalated Iran's military posture toward the U.S. and its allies in the region.

Instead of offering an 'alternative to war,' sanctions have become a cause of war. Consequently, How Sanctions Work reveals how necessary it is to understand how sanctions really work.



  • Narges Bajoghli is Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. She is the author of the award-winning book Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic (Stanford University Press 2019).
  • Vali Nasr is the Majid Khadduri Professor of International Affairs and Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council. He served as the eighth Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS.