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Good Sanctions, Bad Sanctions, Iranian Style

A General view of Bashmaq Border crossing in Marivan County of Iran's Kurdistan province, one of the border crossings between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan Region, undated.

After declaring a blockade against the Iraq Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Iran has been accused of a “double standard” by many Twitter users.

While Iran has repeatedly condemned international sanctions imposed on Tehran as “inhumane,” Twitter users maintained that putting the KRG under siege is inhumane, as well.

In a circular, the Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization (IRMTO) declared, “In regard to recent developments in the region, all companies in Iran are banned from transferring oil products into KRG or vice versa.”

The new guideline was circulated at a time that a referendum for the KRG’s independence was held the week before, on September 25, in which 92 percent of voters voted yes.

Hours after the guideline was circulated, a number of Twitter users noted the reactions to Western sanctions imposed on Iran.

Tehran has always insisted the sanctions imposed were “inhumane” and targeted the Iranian people.

A Twitter account holder, Amir Ebtehaj, wrote, “Mr. Rouhani! During the presidential campaigns you used to say that you were against sanctions. Why have you kept mum on sanctions imposed on the KRG? Sanctions are bad, as far as they are imposed on us, otherwise they are good?”

Along the same lines, Maytham Behravesh tweeted, “American sanctions imposed on us are bad, but our sanctions against the KRG are good?”

Another user, under the name Hannah Arendt B (without) Heidegger, remarked, “Now, this means sanction and blockade, therefore, stop crying ‘Gaza, Gaza’.”

However, some users voiced their support for the decision, arguing that the blockade will force KRG President Masoud Barzani to give in and retreat from his position.

Nevertheless, referring to the IRMTO’s circular, Farshid Ghazanfarpour commented, “Does it mean that we are imposing sanctions on the KRG? Sanctions? The same calamity that the West forced on us? Solely for holding a plebiscite?”

Another user named Admiral maintained, “It’s very bad if Israel blockades Gaza, yet, it’s absolutely right if we blockade the KRG and punish it for the crime of holding a referendum!”

Tacitly referring to Iran’s military presence in Syria, a journalist, Arash Bahmani, wrote, “These (Tehran’s) are ‘good’ sanctions, the same as our good military intervention and nothing bad about it. If they do the same with us, that’s inhumane.”

Ahmad has also insisted that the sanctions imposed by Iran are directly aimed at the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.

“Have those who were insisting there’s no such thing as ‘smart sanctions’ and any sanction imposed on a country directly hurt its people, any comments now?” Saeid Goudarzi has asked.

Reacting to the referendum, Iranian and international airliners have declared that, based on the Iraqi central government’s request, they have canceled flights to Erbil airport.

Iranian officials have repeatedly branded the KRG’s referendum as a U.S.-Israel conspiracy, whereas Washington has explicitly said it does not recognize the plebiscite.