The United States has reacted to the Iranian missile attack with yet another barrage of sanctions, in the hopes of further damaging their economy. Whether the missiles in the Iranian retaliation on January 8 deliberately avoided dealing the US any casualties or if it was sheer luck is irrelevant; the level of hostility could have been much higher if American lives had been lost.

It would be overly optimistic to hope that this round of sanctions and Iran’s announcement of resuming its nuclear programme will be the end of this conflict. But the US sanctions themselves do indicate that for now, both sides are content with not become too embroiled in increasing violence action. On the surface, targeting the construction, mining, textile, metal and manufacturing industries is a clear and vindictive attempt to cripple Iran’s economy even further, but experts question whether this latest round is really damaging the economic prospects any more than before. Many of these sectors were already sanctioned in large part, as were the individuals that were added to the updated list. Duplicate sanctions over each sector do not make things exponentially worse; by re-imposing existing sanctions the US is essentially telling global traders to not do business with those that were already blacklisted. What has been clear from the day since the US pulled out of the nuclear deal is that arriving at this point was all but inevitable. Pushing Tehran would have ultimately resulted in them pulling out of the nuclear deal, and now all that remains to be seen is how the rest of the world powers will react. Their complete inaction and inability to get both parties to the negotiating table has resulted in things going this far in the first place, now blindly condemning Iran would result in further isolating the country.

After using force to open up hostilities the US is now using all of its economic and soft power to isolate Iran. But what the US government does not realise is that its disagreements with the Iranian state ends up affecting the lives of innocent citizens for no reason. They are nothing but unfortunate bystanders caught in the crossfire, and economic instability in the country will only be danger to the lives and properties of innocents, while the powerful continue to be protected from the brunt of the hard times.

The international community must wake up to this reality and reject the move punish civilians to make government’s follow the agendas of world powers. The real cost of this remains undiscussed and unaccounted for.