Iran prepares to spend with end of sanctions in sight

Published July 19th, 2015 - 09:36 GMT
The country will recover over $100 billion in assets currently frozen by sanctions. (AFP/File)
The country will recover over $100 billion in assets currently frozen by sanctions. (AFP/File)

With the removal of economic sanctions against Iran, part of the sweeping nuclear deal agreed to earlier this week, Iranians are primed to start spending.

The country, whose economy has been reduced by 20 percent since 2012, is poised to recover over $100 billion in assets currently frozen by sanctions, and to begin importing and exporting products otherwise banned from the marketplace. Oil is Iran's major export, but pistachios, Iranian caviar and Persian carpets have also been off the global market. 

Iranian citizens have been denied consumer goods during the embargo, and are expecting a major improvement in lifestyle.

"Maybe Iran and America's government don't like each other but Iranian people love ... American products," cellphone store owner Hooman Masumi told NBC News, noting pent-up demand for foreign products. "This could be a new beginning for both of us. Everyone wants an Apple phone. Iranians like good things."

The deal will likely take to the end of the year to implement. Although the agreement still requires approval by the US Congress, and sanctions will still be in effect for several months, Iranians are optimistic.

"As soon as the US government is OK with investment in Iran we will see a lot of US investors coming to Iran," Radman Rabii of Tehran-based Turquoise Partners, a financial services company, said.

Iran is also expected to use some of the freed-up money to fund regional partners, including Shiite militias in Iraq and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Although the beneficiaries have histories of hostility toward the United States, Iran is eager to see the defeat of the Islamic State; thus do Iran and the United States have common ground which potentially could lead to cooperation begun by the nuclear agreement.

By Ed Adamczyk


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