The IMF concluded its second visit to Iran since May this week – and only its second since the 1979 revolution – and issued a report praising the government’s economic plans. But amid the warm language were several warnings that economic improvements are dependent on the implementation of a range of measures that are far from certain to be fully realized. Despite recent improvements, serious structural reforms are necessary to reintegrate with the global economy, the IMF says. (MEES, 20 May).

But efforts to implement contentious measures may take a back seat in the run up to the May 2017 presidential elections. Moreover, should the incumbent President Hassan Rohani not be re-elected, his successor may opt to ditch many of the planned policies. The IMF this week hiked its Iranian GDP growth forecasts for this year and next: for 2017 Iran is slated to be the Gulf’s top performer with 4.1% growth (see p13), with the impact of stubbornly low oil prices mitigated by Iran’s success in swiftly boosting oil production and exports to near pre-sanctions levels (see p9). (CONTINUED - 1014 WORDS)