Despite Iran's vast energy reserves, widespread economic malaise has been the greatest source of popular discontent in the Islamic Republic. George Washington University’s Hossein Askari, PFC Energy’s Fareed Mohamedi, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Matthew Levitt, and Johns Hopkins University’s Kevan Harris discussed the overall health of the Iranian economy, the state of its energy infrastructure, and the likely impact of the major economic reforms. Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour moderated.
Harris and Askari discussed the state of the Iranian economy, focusing on the predicaments faced by average Iranians. Askari offered an examination of the problems Iran’s economy needs to overcome:
Harris offered a slightly more positive perspective, based on a year of on-the-ground research in Iran:
Mohamedi described some of the significant problems Iran faces as an oil economy:
Mohamedi concluded by pointing out some of the factors inhibiting Iran from having a strong gas sector. He said that while the gas sector in Iran is the second largest in the world, demand currently exceeds Iran’s production capabilities due to the costs of imports, competition from other markets, infrastructure issues, and sanctions which impede the development of a liquefied natural gas sector.
Levitt discussed the sanctions against Iran, arguing that those who claim that sanctions have failed are not seeing the big picture:
The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.
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