Iran has met its obligations under last July’s nuclear agreement; in return crippling economic sanctions have been lifted and the economy should thrive. The question is – will the ordinary wage earner benefit?
There are two reasons for doubt; and a serious fear.
Reason one for doubting an economic bonanza is the price of oil, Iran’s main export: it’s plummeted to less than $30 a barrel. Ironically President Rouhani, the leader who has fought to get sanctions lifted, will have much less oil money to use than his predecessor who caused the sanctions, President Ahmadinejad.
Reason two is that most of the economy is controlled by the Revolutionary Guards. This means all the frozen assets (estimated at around $100 billion) and most of the global investments are in danger of being soaked up by the bloated and inefficient state sector. Low wages, long hours and high prices could remain the norm for most Iranians and all Christians.
And the fear? President Rouhani promised to fix the economy. This won him the support of the people and the Supreme Leader. If he does not deliver, the hard-liners, who loathe Rouhani’s diplomacy with the West, are waiting in the wings ready to make a comeback.