Coloniality of the Maximum Pressure Campaign: Re-reading the Imposition of Economic Sanctions against Iran

Master's Thesis


In conventional international relations (IR) theories, economic sanctions are considered as peaceful alternatives to military confrontation and war. Through my research, I aim to challenge the categorization of economic sanctions as peaceful and shed light on the coloniality of the unilateral US economic sanctions policies against Iran – also known as the Maximum Pressure Campaign. By shifting the locus of enunciation from the rogue Iranian state to that of human suffering and re-reading the pivotal historical moments of the imposition of economic sanctions against Iran, I argue that violent sanctions policies against one country are, in fact, the continuation of colonial projects. Investigating the official narrative of the Maximum Pressure Campaign and statements from the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, from March 2018 to January 2021, I assert that unilateral economic sanctions are imposed by the US as the strategy of hegemonic imperial power and are targeted toward people who are living at the bottom of the global racial, religious, and gendered hierarchies. Herein, decolonial theories create the space to reject the devastating economic sanctions as peace strategies and think beyond the boundaries of the nation-state order.


Attribute NameValues
Author Niloofar Adnani
Contributor George A. Lopez, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Global Affairs
Degree Name Master of Global Affairs
Banner Code
  • MGA

Submission Date 2021-07-13
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


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