All tagged economy

Iran’s Supreme Leader Emphasizes Practical—Not Political—Economic Aims

◢ During a meeting with the Islamic Republic's political elite, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated calls for a “resistance economy,” but also placed new emphasis on the “increasing the ease of doing business.” The specificity of some of Khamenei’s advice and observations about Iran’s economy suggests a greater appreciation for the practical importance of economic reforms that go beyond well-worn political slogans.

Can Europe Defend Itself And Iran From U.S. Sanctions?

◢ In an op-ed published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared that the “the US and Europe have been drifting apart for years.” In order to defend the JCPOA and protect European companies active in Iran from U.S. sanctions, Maas has outlined three initiatives: “establishing payment channels independent of the US, a European monetary fund, and an independent SWIFT [payments] system.” This has given many in Iran hope that Europe might still be able to create an “economic package” to save the JCPOA. But Maas’s vision is not an economic package. It is an economic process, which may prove transformative, but only in the long term.

Iran's Currency Crisis is a Supply-Side Story

◢ On Monday, the Iranian rial sank to a historic low. But those Iranians who scrambled to convert their rials into dollars found it difficult to do so—as they have for months. This important detail of the current crisis has gone largely unexamined. While the determinants for demand for foreign exchange are well understood, the second determinant of market prices—foreign exchange supply—remains subject to mere passing mention. This is a mistake. Iran’s currency crisis is a supply-side story.

Three Years Later: Europe’s Last Push on the Iran Nuclear Deal

◢ The Iran nuclear agreement marked its third anniversary in a gloomy state. Many hoped that the resolution of the nuclear dispute would result in a new understanding between the West and Iran, opening a pathway for detente rather than confrontation. Relations between Europe and Iran have certainly made gains in this direction, but the Trump administration’s maximalist stance on Tehran has created an extremely hazardous environment for all remaining stakeholders in the nuclear deal.

They Want War With Iran, They’re Settling For Economic War

◢ On Tuesday, French officials convened a briefing for French business on possible responses to Trump’s reimposition of secondary sanctions. French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire reportedly cited the French parable that “money is the nerve of war” to describe what is at stake. He may be more correct than he realizes, as the Trump administration gears-up for an economic war on Iran.

Rouhani Government Unifies Iran’s Exchange Rates in Decisive Move to Stabilize Currency

◢  In a decisive move intended to stop the further devaluation of the rial, the Rouhani government announced it would unify the official and free market dollar exchange rates, settling on an official rate of IRR 42,000. First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri made the announcement last night, declaring that trading dollars above the new rate would be a serious crime. 

Iranian Protests And The Working Class

◢ There is growing consensus that the core constituency of the recent wave of protests in Iran is working class youth who feel "forgotten" in the country's economic plan. 

◢ The expected post-sanctions windfall has yet to materialize and the Rouhani administration will need to decide whether it will compromise on its austerity-type budgets in order to offer some near-term economic relief. 

Iran Starved of Investor Capital Needed to Fuel Extensive Privatizations

◢ Morteza Lotfi, the newly appointed head of SHASTA has recently announced a new effort for SHASTA to divest from a large portion of its portfolio, offering a second chance at the privatizations pursued a decade ago. 

◢ But political barriers and a dearth of capital, particularly from foreign investors, risks rendering SHASTA's plan dead on arrival as Iran seeks to liberalize without crucial liquidity.