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Reinforcing a Regime: Strengthening Clientelism in Iran with Sanctions

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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When examining the effects of economic sanctions, the contentious debate over what constitutes success or failure often overlooks the sanctions externalities. This thesis examines the externalities of sanctions inside Iran in an effort to answer the question How have economic sanctions targeting Iran affected domestic Iranian politics, and to what degree have these effects influenced the Iranian regime Through extensive research regarding Irans class, economy, and politics, this thesis examines the characteristics of Iranian class structure, the measurable impact of sanctions on the Iranian economy and resultant economic policy shifts, and how these factors influence political behavior. This research concludes that sanctions have strengthened political clientelism in Iran, and are in turn reinforcing the Iranian regimes hold on power. The implications provide critical context for policy makers working toward a U.S. strategy that will provide Iranian people the necessary resources to exert their political will.

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