The Revolutionary Economy
- Iran has a strong foundation for rapid growth and development, with the world’s second largest petroleum reserves, a young, well-educated population and a well-developed industrial and commercial infrastructure.
- But revolution, war, mismanagement and factional feuds over economic policy have undercut potential since the Islamic Republic’s birth in 1979.
- The economy has been a central factor in shaping Iran’s political evolution. Since the revolution, it has also been the primary target of U.S. sanctions and other international measures trying to influence Iranian policy.
- Infrastructure development
- Privatization of state enterprises
- Foreign exchange liberalization
- Establishment of free-trade zones
- And elimination of subsidies and price controls.
- Unifying the exchange rate
- Establishing an Oil Stabilization Fund as a cushion against market volatility
- Authorizing the first post-revolutionary private banks
- Pushing through some improvements to the framework for foreign investment
- Stewarding the economy through a tumultuous period of unprecedented low oil revenues
- And luring new interest and investment from the West.
- Expanding credit and spending in a freewheeling fashion
- Feuding openly with a series of cabinet ministers and Central Bank chiefs
- Dismantling the planning bureaucracy
- Disempowering government technocrats
- And reveling in the reverberations of the global economic meltdown.
- The key uncertainty affecting Iran’s economic future is the leadership’s capacity to circumvent and mitigate sanctions, particularly restricting its banking relationships with Europe.
- Declining production from aging oil fields, together with political and logistical constraints on Iran’s ability to monetize its gas resources, will begin to take a steeper toll on Iran’s revenues and hard currency reserves.
- The government might be able to lure back some foreign investors by offering more attractive contracts. But changing the current ‘buy-back’ system would likely entail a bruising internal battle.
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“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 top experts—Western and Iranian—in comprehensive but concise overviews of Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. Each link connects to a complete chapter on one of 62 subjects in 10 categories. Printable PDF attachments also are at the bottom. Timely analysis is added weekly. The book also chronicles U.S.-Iran relations under six U.S. presidents. It probes five policy options. And it offers timelines, bios of top leaders, and data on nuclear sites and specific sanctions resolutions. And it provides context and analysis for what lies ahead. Click here to order the book.