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Radio Farda Listeners React To New U.S. Sanctions

Iran's Revolutionary Guards (file photo) (AFP) October 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The announcement of new U.S. sanctions against Iran, including the designation of the elite Quds Force as a terrorist group, has spurred a wave of strong responses from Iranians across the political spectrum.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced the measures on October 24, singling out Iran’s Defense Ministry, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and its elite Quds Force.

In e-mails and phone calls to Radio Farda, some listeners and web users have welcomed the move as a step in the right direction -- while others have voiced concerns that ordinary Iranians will be hurt by the U.S. sanctions, which also apply to a number of banks and companies linked to the IRGC and its Quds Force.

In comments on Radio Farda's Persian-language website, Amir from Mahabad wrote that he opposes the sanctions "because the people will become the victims." One woman who spoke to broadcasters agreed: “These sanctions that the U.S. has announced against the Iranian regime will only put pressure on the Iranian people,” she said.

“I don’t understand how can an Iranian support sanctions against his country or an attack against his country. I really don’t understand it,” writes Mehran from Tabriz. Another respondent, Ahmad, opposed the measures because he believes the IRGC is devoted to defending Iran.

While making the announcement, Rice spoke directly to the Iranian people to address concerns about the sanctions' potential impact. "We in the United States have no conflict with you," she said. "We want you to have every opportunity to develop and prosper in dignity, including the peaceful use of nuclear power. So, we hope that your government will embrace the path of cooperation that we and the international community continue to offer."

Other critics warned that the sanctions would have little effect. Saeed, writing from Tehran, believes that the sanctions will only harm Washington's interests, arguing that Iran has made economic progress in recent years even “under the shadow of U.S. sanctions.” Mohsen, also from Tehran, says that the experience of the past 30 years has shown that “these measures do not have any effect on the will of the Iranian people and officials.”

Another listener, Hadi, said that instead of enforcing sanctions against Iran, Washington should hold direct talks with Tehran.

Against The Regime

But some Iranians are welcoming the U.S. sanctions as an effective weapon against the regime of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. One respondent writes that the regime is "against its people," and that "all true Iranians and Muslims" should therefore welcome any move that puts pressure on the government, adding that the sanctions came "very late."

"The sanctions have nothing to do with [ordinary] people and their well-being,” writes another supporter.

A reader from Khoramabad says he not only supports the sanctions, but he would also support military action against Iran. "We people of Iran are nothing but walking dead. I can’t support this regime anymore,” he writes.

It remains uncertain whether the latest measures are in fact a prelude to military action, as some suggest, or represent genuine efforts to solve the crisis through diplomatic means.

One caller from Sweden called on Iran’s supreme leader to find a solution to the current crisis. Iran "is moving toward a real crisis, Iran is slowly entering a swamp, we’re actually into it up to our waist. I hope things will not get any worse and Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei will create a council to find a solution that is in the national interests of Iran," he said.

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