Economics & Global Affairs

12 Items

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Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Recognizing the Limitations of American Influence in Iran

| Feb. 14, 2018

It is time for a reality check: despite claims to the contrary by Iran’s supreme leader, the United States is not the central actor in the drama that recently unfolded in Iran, nor was it the central actor in Egypt back in 2011. The mass protests that forced the Egyptian dictator from power were driven by the Egyptian public’s growing disenchantment with decades of political, economic and social mismanagement by a succession of military rulers. Contemporary observers noted with surprise the absence of references to the United States or other foreign-policy considerations during the protests. The demonstrators’ recurrent chant—“bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity”—encapsulated the domestic motivations behind the public’s mobilization.


Tasnim News

Blog Post - Iran Matters

A Wake-up Call to Rouhani

  • Masoud Movahed
| Jan. 17, 2018

The recent protests in Iran are surely a wakeup call for President Rouhani. To respond the legitimate grievances of low-income Iranian households, the Rouhani government should do its best to further diversify the Iranian economy and to bolster its manufacturing and industrial sectors. The Rouhani government should also promote the export of non-oil products, following the models of countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, and recently, the Chinese leviathan. Labor-intensive industries as well as service sectors like information technology, ought to be solidified. Rouhani should call upon state-directed industrial committees and agencies to provide Iranian entrepreneurs and manufacturers with fiscal resources, and he should foster financial support and protection for firms that place emphasis on exporting goods abroad.

Rouhani reelection rally

Blog Post - Iran Matters

The Significance of Hassan Rouhani’s Reelection as President of Iran

  • Ephraim Kam
| June 06, 2017

What can we expect from Rouhani’s second term? The large majority with which he won does not change the basic fact that the number one decision-maker in Iran remains Supreme Leader Khamenei. Ephraim Kam writes to Iran Matters that it is doubtful that Rouhani’s large majority will translate into greater power vis-à-vis Khamenei and the regime’s radical wing, as the president will likely continue to depend on them.

iranians shopping in bazaar


Analysis & Opinions

Economic challenges loom in Rohani’s second term

| May 28, 2017

Despite its flaws, the May 19 presidential election offered Iranian voters a real choice between the moderate incumbent President Hassan Rohani and a hard-line rival, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raeisi. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani writes to The Arab Weekly that Rohani’s decisive win with 57% of the vote, combined with a sweep by reformist candidates in the city council elections in Tehran and several other major cities, gives him a strong mandate to move for­ward with his program of eco­nomic reform.

ibrahim raisi


Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How Iran's Hard-Liners Are Challenging Rouhani (From the Left)

| May 18, 2017

Although Rouhani has an incumbent’s advantage, his promised economic revival is seen by many as having fallen short of his stated goals, and he has been the target of unceasing and strong allegations of corruption. Despite the fact that every Iranian president in the post-Khomeini period has served two terms, why is Rouhani in a precarious position? And what are the factors that anti-Rouhani forces are trying to use to their advantage? In an article to The National Interest, Payam Mohseni, Director of the Belfer Center's Iran Project, shows that recalling the lessons of the 2005 election, which brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power, serves as a useful model in understanding this year’s contest and the challenges Rouhani faces in maintaining power.

President Rouhani addresses the 68th UN General Assembly in New York, before holding a private dinner at the UN Hotel (2013).


Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Could the Iranian Economy Sink Rouhani?

| May 15, 2017

For a “managed democracy,” Iran holds remarkably unpredictable presidential elections. And the upcoming election on May 19 is no exception, given that the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, is facing a tough conservative challenger, Ebrahim Raesi. In this column to Project Syndicate, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, visiting scholar at the Belfer Center's Iran Project, writes about Rouhani's economic weaknesses and the challenges he faces for reelection. 

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Report - World Bank

Constructing Robust Poverty Trends in the Islamic Republic of Iran (2008-2014)

| Sep. 27, 2016

This paper constructs and tests the robustness of consistently measured poverty trends in the Islamic Republic of Iran after 2008, using international poverty lines based on U.S. dollars at 2011 purchasing power parity. The constructed estimates reveal three distinct periods of welfare in the Islamic Republic of Iran: increase in poverty and inequality between 2008 and 2009, decline in poverty and inequality between 2009 and 2012, and gradual deterioration of both indicators again after 2012. The results are robust regardless of the choice of welfare aggregate, inclusion or exclusion of different components, and spatial adjustment accounting for regional variation in food and housing prices.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

What about the integrity of Iran’s financial system?

| Dec. 21, 2015

Aaron Arnold, Associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center, writes in The Hill that while Iran will soon be getting sanctions relief as the nuclear accord with the P5+1 is enacted, it has not yet taken steps to update its banking system and bring it up to international money laundering and counter-terror financing. He also suggests that in order to balance the competing political and financial concerns at play with sanctions, the international community led by the United States should make clear conditions for both exclusion and rejoining of the international financial system.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Banks Will Help Ensure Iran Keeps Promises On Nukes

| Sep. 29, 2015

Aaron Arnold, Associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center, and Nikos Passas, Professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, argue in The Conversation that Iran's reintegration into the global financial system may in fact make it easier, not more difficult, to monitor Iranian financial activities for illicit transactions. They point to the fact that banks can monitor transactions for entities designated as involved in terrorist or weapons of mass destruction activities by the U.S. Treasury. They also suggest that Iran may adopt stricter money laundering standards in order to increase economic integration. While challenges remain, they suggest that building a public-private partnership between banks and regulators will ensure that Iran will be caught in any illicit financial actions after the nuclear deal.