Iran Struggles To Attract Investment Amid Continued Sanctions, Both Real & Perceived

The lifting of international economic sanctions in January helped Iran shed its pariah status. But the country’s banks remain largely cut off from their international counterparts due both to residual US measures and the related ‘fear factor’.

The broad lifting of sanctions on Iran’s economy on 16 January this year was heralded as a new chapter that could set the country on the path to prosperity.

Since Iran’s nuclear program became public in 2002, the imposition of sanctions by the UN, EU and several individual countries in an attempt to prevent Tehran from developing military nuclear capability, has had a crippling impact on its economy.

After these sanctions were tightened further in 2011, Iran’s roughly $420bn economy shrank by about 9% in the following two-year period that ended in March 2014, according to the IMF.

Crude oil exports fell from 2.48mn b/d in 2011 to just 1.11mn b/d in mid-2013 with the economic impact compounded by the more than halving of oil prices since mid-2014. ‘Lost’ 2012-15 oil revenues due to sanctions total $153bn according to MEES calculations (see table).


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