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Iran’s economy is starting to emerge from a long period of stagnation caused by economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations, as well as the United States and European Union, fluctuations in oil price and the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the restrictions of economic sanctions, any increase in oil price has directly boosted revenues and led to growth in oil export volumes. Iran’s economy has also benefitted from the UAE, one of its main trading partners, who increased investment and trade with the country in 2022 due to its strategic geographical position. Inbound cross-border activity has diminished understandably over the past few years due to the demise of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, however there has been a palpable pick-up of Russian and Chinese interest of late, given these states’ non-participation in Western sanctions. Climate challenges have also hurt growth in Iran with record temperatures and low rainfall contributing to reduced agricultural productivity which in turn constrains the pace of recovery. Recent political protests in the country, following the death of university student Mahsa Amini in the custody of the Guidance Patrol (commonly known as “morality police”) after her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory hijab law have been described by some as greatest challenge to the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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