Iranians have poured into the streets in over 100 cities to vent their anger at the deprivation that is now part of their daily lives. Even though harsh American sanctions have inflicted substantial damage on Iran’s economy, protesters are directing their anger at their own government, not at Washington. This might seem puzzling, since foreign correspondents in Tehran have consistently warned that Iranians are nationalists who would unite behind their government in the face of American pressure.
This expectation reflects the tendency of Western correspondents to present the hardships they witness as the result of sanctions, despite substantial evidence that corruption and mismanagement bear much greater responsibility. The American media’s coverage of pharmaceutical shortages in Iran illustrates this trend.
David Adesnik is director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (@FDD), where Saeed Ghasseminejad is a senior Iran and financial economics advisor. Follow them on Twitter @adesnik and @SGhasseminejad. FDD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) research institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. FDD does not accept donations from foreign governments.