Iran and Sanctions: Experience of Overcoming and Influence on Socio-Economic Development

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Research Fellow
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Occupation: Associate Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg State University; Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, RAS
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 7

The international sanctions has been affecting Iran’s economy for the last forty years. During this time, their pressure on Iran’s economy was uneven. The most sensitive measures of economic pressure against Tehran was applied in 2010 – 2015. They cut the country from the international banking and insurance system. Tehran’s access to foreign investments, advanced technologies and international sea carriage services was restricted. Its options to sell oil in external markets and import gasoline were also limited. Consequently, the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, so called nuclear deal) signed between Tehran and the international group of negotiators in 2015 was welcomed by the Iranian population and large part of the country’s elite. This document was lifting most of the previously imposed sanctions and gave Iran hopes for less troubled economic development.

Yet, the decision of US president, Donald Trump, voiced in Spring 2018 to leave the JCPOA change the situation around Iran once again. The renewal of US sanction pressure on Tehran caused serious concerns among the international community. The authorities of the EU, Russia and China are rightfully worried that the re-introduction of the US sanctions can create difficulties for doing business with Tehran and provoke the Iranian elite to consider options for Tehran to leave the nuclear deal. According to these concerns, sanctions might have negative impact on the domestic situation in Iran causing the growth of social unrest and strengthening of the position of conservative forces less prepared for the dialogue with the outer world. These concerns got only strengthened when, in November 2018, Trump imposed oil trade embargo on Tehran (with the provision of oil sanctions waiver for only eight countries and limited period of six months). Yet, these pessimistic scenarios should be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the current events and past experience clearly demonstrate that the re-imposed sanctions might become less effective than expected by the US.


KeywordsIran, sanctions, economic development, sociopolitical instability, JSPOA
Publication date07.08.2019
Number of characters34024
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