Iran: a gas giant with feet of clay

Iran: a gas giant with feet of clay

After the re-imposition of US sanctions in 2018 sparked a crash in its oil industry, Iran accelerated production of natural gas and gas condensates and expanded gas exports to neighbouring countries less vulnerable to sanctions. However, domestic obstacles and continued limits on its energy exports have prevented Iran from securing its place as a major gas provider to the region, and it now has another priority for its rising gas output: its downstream sector.

The ups and downs of Iran’s economy

The ups and downs of Iran’s economy

On a roller coaster ride for the past thirty years, Iran’s economy is once again in crisis mode. After a modest recovery following the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and lifting of the UN oil embargo of 2012–16, the economic downturn which began in 2018 after the US implemented economic sanctions is set to worsen significantly this year and into next.  Despite the adverse impact this will have on the Iranian people, the end goal of US sanctions – to topple Tehran’s government or force it into a new President-Trump-approved nuclear deal – will not work, in part because Iran has built a substantial balance of payment buffers and diversified key parts of its economy.

The US-Iran conflict: no sign of a way out

The US-Iran conflict: no sign of a way out

Iran’s limited use of violence in the Gulf has caused US President Donald Trump to adopt a more cautious posture towards Tehran. However, conflict is likely to erupt again as long as the economic sanctions remain in place. Iran has begun violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the aim of pressuring the international community to break the blockade and may even be willing to risk a “limited” conflict. In the US, while the prospect of elections in 2020 is likely prevent the Trump administration from hardening its stance in the short run, if it wins a second term and Iran continues its provocations, the anti-Iran hawks in the Cabinet will have maximum flexibility to make the case for military action.