News / Economy

Iranians Hope for Improved Economy in 2014

For Many Iranians, High Hopes for Improved Economic Prospects in 2014i
X
December 19, 2013 5:56 PM
While Iran's nuclear program, presidential elections and talks with the West got most of the attention in 2013, the issue that hits closest to home for most Iranians is the economy, which has been battered by international sanctions. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.

VIDEO: Some analysts say growing anger over rising inflation, high unemployment paved way for Iran's new diplomatic opening to the West. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.

While Iran's nuclear program, presidential elections and new talks with the West got most of the attention this past year, the issue that hits closest to home for most Iranians is the economy, which has been battered by international sanctions. Many analysts say it was the growing anger over rising inflation and high unemployment that paved the way for Iran's new diplomatic opening to the West and the world.
 
Back in March 2013, Iranian consumers were furious over nut prices that had jumped ten-fold.
 
"It is the first time in thirty years that we haven't put nuts and pistachios on our Haft-Seen," said Tehran resident Hamid Pourmand. "I can say we boycotted it or simply didn't buy to protest the growing hike in nuts prices."
 
It was the latest in a series of economic blows to a nation that has seen inflation rise 40 percent over the previous year, with unemployment hitting more than 12 percent. For young people, the jobless rate was almost twice as high.
 
As the June presidential election approached, Iranians didn't forget, demanding that the country's next president find a way to circumvent or resolve the sanctions. Many took to the streets to celebrate when reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani won on promises to revive an economy strangled by round after a round of international sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.  
 
As Iran's new leadership prepared for talks in October in Geneva with Western powers on its nuclear program, sinking oil exports caused by the sanctions were costing Tehran an estimated $100 million a day. By late November, a breakthrough was made during talks in Geneva, in which a tentative deal between Iran and world powers over the country's nuclear activities promised up to $7 billion in sanctions relief.
 
For normal Iranian like Tehran jewerly shop owner Ebrahimi, the deal gave rise to a newfound optimism.
 
"Thank God the deal that was made between them was to the benefit of the Iranian people," he said. "All Iranians dreamed of this. They are very happy."
 
But some Iranians remained skeptical. One Tehran resident who spoke with VOA Persian's Straight Talk via Skype, who went by the name Mana, expressed only guarded optimism.
 
"I hope people's daily lives get better, especially people around us and workers who have bad conditions in factories," he said. "Sanctions shut down many factories in Iran. I work with several factories and we see they laid off many workers."
 
According to Matthew Levitt, a scholar with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, there is good reason for caution.
 
"This will get Iran over the next six months, perhaps. But just as likely it's going to create a crisis of rising expectations among Iranians who expect that a deal means huge relief and the removal of sanctions."
 
As the U.S. Treasury Department's David Cohen warns, unless Iran finalizes a deal, the economic pain will continue.
 
"Foreign banks and businesses still face a choice," Cohen said. "They can do business with Iran or they can do business with the U.S. — just not both."
 
Which means the fate of the Iranian economy likely hinges on how the Geneva accord plays out.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.