23 March 2018

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01/18/2016 IRAN

Tehran’s optimism stronger than the new sanctions

The US has imposed new sanctions on groups linked to the missile tests. But Obama emphasizes the "historic progress" made by Iran. In Tehran the stock exchange reacted well; the rial has increased its value; economic newspapers all sold out. Fears for the upcoming elections of the Council of Experts and parliament.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – The new sanctions against Iran over its missile tests, imposed by the United States yesterday, will not dampen the sense of relief and optimism felt by Iranians after the lifting of sanctions and embargoes – which the international had imposed because their country’s nuclear program, following last July’s agreements and recent verifications.

For President Hassan Rouhani, "a new page" between Iran and the international community has been turned, and even his US counterpart, Barack Obama, said that Iran had made "historic progress".

With the end of the financial embargo, transactions will be possible again. Iran will get back the assets the United States and Great Britain froze and be able to sell its oil and gas without restrictions.

Rouhani said he hopes to see the country's GDP grow by 5 % this year.

The new US sanctions will prevent 11 entities and individuals linked to Iran’s missile program from using the US banking system. However, they will not stop Iran's economy, seen as one of the most promising in the world.

As a sign of this optimism, long queues formed in front newsstands yesterday across Tehran to buy newspapers, especially economic ones. Iran’s foremost business paper, Donya-ye Eghtesad (the world economy), was a soldout. Other papers went through two, even three runs.

Tehran’s stock exchange reacted very well and the rial gained 5% on all the major currencies. But nobody knows if this will last.

Experts say that with sanctions lifted, problems will come too. Low oil prices (today the Brent was below 28 dollars) mean that Iran’s reconstruction cannot be fast. The government also does not have a substantial foreign exchange reserve, and the end of sanctions will lead to more imports, which sooner or later will weaken the rial.

"It is very important,” said a businessman, “that we correct the idea among people that Iran’s problems will be solved overnight."

In general, people have lost the desire to continue Khomeini’s Revolution and are tired of tensions with other countries and of their economy's poor performance. Now they expects an increase in their living standards and a greater openness to foreign nations.

One question that still needs an answer is how conservatives will react. Close to hard-line ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guards, they had to accept the nuclear deal and accept a friendlier relationship with the world.

One analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the greatest fear "is political conflict between the government of moderates and conservatives radicals."

“Our country is facing two crucial electoral events, scheduled for February 26: the election of the Council of Experts (the group that checks the leaders’ decisions) and the Majlis (parliament).”

“If the moderates currently in power win, the path will be smooth. If radicals win, the path of detente could end. For the time being, with the end of sanctions, Rouhani won a pre-election victory."

See also

03/01/2018 13:40:00 IRAN
Tens of thousands of Iranians take to streets to defend government. More victims and arrests

Huge turnout for marches against the USA and in support of the leadership. The death toll rises to 23 dead and 450 arrests. Khamenei: External "enemies" who want to foment chaos and target institutions. Zarif: Security and stability depend on the Iranians, free to "protest and vote". Poverty and unemployment are the fundamental reasons for the demonstrations. 

04/01/2018 09:31:00 IRAN
Tehran: Pasdaran declare the 'end of sedition’, but tensions remain

Gen. Ali Jafari applauds the "security preparedness and people's vigilance" that led to the defeat of enemies. And he accuses monarchists, anti-revolutionaries and "enemy" forces outside Iran. But in some cities, outbreaks of tension remain. Trump continues to blow on the fire of the uprising and promises support "at the right time".

02/01/2018 10:18:00 IRAN
Demonstrations continue in many Iranian cities. Policeman killed

Demonstrations are in their fifth day. Underpinned by economic difficulties, youth unemployment, rising prices, but also criticism of the government and corruption of the regime. Rouhani: Yes to criticism, no to violence. Revolutionary Guards say the protests are supported from abroad. Reactions in the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia. Russia: An internal affair.

20/04/2016 20:45:00 IRAN
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.

18/05/2017 13:04:00 IRAN-US
Strong powers, even the United States, against Rouhani

The outgoing president has relaxed relations with the international community, improving the economy, but unemployment is still high. His main challenger Ebrahim Raisi, a religious conservative, is backed by Khamenei and the pasdaran. Young people in the cities are for Rouhani. Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, a support from outside to conservatives.

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