Iran expecting modest economic growth

Economic planners in Tehran working to correct Ahmadinejad missteps.

By Daniel J. Graeber

TEHRAN, March 11 (UPI) -- Iran in the new year that begins next week can expect economic growth in a scenario where oil is near parity with non-oil exports, an official said Wednesday.

Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht, the director of the Management and Planning Organization in the Iranian government, said economic growth in a new year that begins March 21 is expected at 2.5 percent.


A February review from the International Monetary Fund found the Iranian economy had experienced "marked improvement" over the past year, though the low price of oil and international issues related to its nuclear program present significant challenges moving forward.

Sanctions on Iranian oil exports and other parts of the economy resulted in an economic contraction of 5.8 percent in 2012-13. For fiscal year 2013-14, the World Bank estimates the Iranian economy contracted at an annual rate of 1.7 percent.

The Iranian economy in December emerged from recession and Nobakht said oil exports totaled around $42.5 billion during the last 10 months while non-oil exports were near parity.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last month claimed an economic "miracle" when announcing the inflation rate had dropped from 40 percent under his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to around 16 percent.


The planning director said Iran has failed to meet many of its economic development goals primarily because of woes experienced during the Ahmadinejad administration, the Oil Ministry's news agency SHANA reported.

Iran is working on a budget for the new year that diminishes the weight given to oil revenue.

Multilateral negotiations hit a snag when Republican members of the U.S. Congress issued an open letter emphasizing their constitutional role in talks led in part by the U.S. State Department.

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