Amid all the speculation recently that Iran could become a nuclear threat, one very important fact may have gotten drowned out — our sanctions against that country are working. Which brings us to our number of the day: 25 percent.
That’s how much value Iran’s currency lost against the dollar in the black market — and that’s just in a little over a week. The Wall Street Journal estimates that over the last year the rial lost more like 80 percent of what it was worth.
That is a catastrophic devaluation. Even Iran’s delusional President Ahmadinejad said the international embargo on his country’s oil and Central Bank is causing real pain.
Street protests have broken out, and Iran’s government had to crack down on the black-market money changers. The economic harm of sanctions may be doing more to destabilize the Iranian regime than we thought.
It could be reaching a tipping point — the internal chaos could force the Iranian government to negotiate for real about its nuclear program. The proof of this is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also embraced the virtues of sanctions.
Military action against Iran may still be necessary. But sanctions may help move Iran’s policies before any shots are fired.