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Battered by years of sanctions, Iran’s economy is hurting from the oil price slide. But Tehran expects to ride out this storm, like it has done others before it.
That Iran’s economy is suffering is in no doubt. Years of US, EU and UN sanctions have weakened the national currency tremendously, hit state revenues hard, and driven up living costs that were already soaring on the back of a 2010 government decision to begin removing subsidies on energy and foodstuffs.
So evident was this downturn, that Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last year identified restoring Iran’s economic health as a top priority for the regime. The fear was that popular frustration over what was a clear lack of economic opportunities for the Iranian people could lead to street protests, similar to those that followed the disputed 2009 presidential elections, and ultimately threaten the regime’s survival.
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