Iran aims to hurt the U.S. by dumping the dollar

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh


By : Dr. Majid Rafizadeh


Tehran has declared that it is moving away from the U.S. dollar in trade, and welcomes using other currencies instead. According to Iran’s official news agency Shana, Safar-Ali Karamati, deputy director of international affairs for marketing and crude oil operation in the state-owned National Iranian Oil Co, said the country’s “top priority” is “to receive cash and oil demands in euros.”

He added: “Because of [the European Union’s] single monetary unit, European customers have no problem paying for crude oil deals in euros.” Two officials at the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Industries and Mines told me Iran offers several methods of payment other than the dollar for exports and imports.

Tehran will make every effort to scuttle U.S. national interests, regional foreign policy and global power. Iranian leaders believe one of the factors behind U.S. global influence is the petrodollar. The dollar is the world’s primary reserve currency, representing more than 60 percent of identified currency reserves. From Iran’s point of view, reducing the use of the petrodollar will negatively affect U.S. power.

Good timing

This is the right time for Iran to back away from the currency. It is not risking a war with the United States, as the White House has signed a nuclear deal with Tehran and is unwilling to jeopardize its crowning foreign-policy accomplishment. Also, Iranian markets are opening up to Russia, China, India and Europe.

Iran is attempting to significantly reduce its dependency on the dollar in case Washington or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accuse Iran of violating the nuclear deal and sanctions are reinstated. That is why there is a rush to seal business deals across Europe and Asia by letting the other party use any currency other than the dollar. For imports, Tehran will also pay with other currencies.

The White House needs to recognize that Iran’s revolutionary government bases its legitimacy on anti-Americanism.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

There are still several Iranian individuals and entities that are restricted by U.S. financial sanctions, so they cannot use the American banking system. Backing away from the dollar will help them conduct business with other nations using alternative banking systems and currencies.

Washington was jubilant over its enhancing of ties with Iran via the nuclear deal, as it believed Tehran would reciprocate. The problem is that the White House is treating Iran as a typical nation-state that prioritizes its national interests above all else. That is why Washington hopes that providing economic incentives will diminish some of the mistrust that Tehran exhibits and start a new era.

However, Iran’s deep animosity toward the United States will continue. Its political establishment is a nexus between national interests and revolutionary principles. The White House needs to recognize that Iran’s revolutionary government bases its legitimacy on anti-Americanism.

The government truly and strongly believes that Washington is trying to overthrow it, no matter how many U.S. carrots the ruling clerics are given. In addition, the government will find it hard to survive without a powerful “enemy” to justify helping itself to the nation’s wealth and natural resources, and to blame for all its mistakes.


Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is an Iranian-American scholar, author and U.S. foreign policy specialist. Rafizadeh is the president of the International American Council. He serves on the board of Harvard International Review at Harvard University and Harvard International Relations Council. He is a member of the Gulf 2000 Project at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs. Previously he served as ambassador to the National Iranian-American Council based in Washington DC. He can be contacted at: Dr.Rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu, or on Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh


Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.


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