On his return to Tehran from Lausanne, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif was hailed as a conquering hero. No surprises there. Most Iranians want another revolution – an economic one – 36 years after the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic one.
They want to be enfolded into the world economic community; the young want opportunity and crucially, jobs; everyone wants the things you can’t get in sanction-suppressed Iran; foreign investment is badly needed.
That’s despite a basic truth. There’s been much good news for Iran’s economy lately – and that’s nothing to do with the West. In the first 11 months of the Iranian fiscal year, car production climbed 58 per cent and pistachio exports shot up 71 percent. Inflation is easing and the economy is growing again.
But Iran’s economy can hardly be described as “healthy” Virginia Tech economics professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani told The Washington Post recently. “It is a bit like a sick man whose leg breaks and then the leg is repaired, but the other stuff is still there.”
There’s a good chance some of that “other stuff” will start to dissipate if Thursday’s agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program, is confirmed in a final deal by June 30.
Iran has been frozen out of the international banking system and foreign trade has been slashed by the sanctions but if all goes well, it will become the biggest country to rejoin the global economy since post-Communist eastern Europe in the early 1990s.