Iran's economic troubles may have been what finally brought it back to talks which ended in a breakthrough nuclear deal with six other world powers on Sunday.
President Hassan Rouhani put the economy at the top of his priority list when he was elected this year, appointing a strong team of economic advisers. Rouhani welcomed the deal, brokered by foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif , which placed limits on his country's ability to enrich uranium. Rouhani claimed that it showed the sanctions regime led by the U.S. "had been broken" – although there had in fact been very little movement on the issue.
"Rouhani has very clearly prioritized dealing with the country's economic problems," Hassan Hakimian, director of the London Middle East Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies and an Iranian émigré, told CNBC.
"These problems are partly due to mismanagement and partly to the sanctions. The administration is dealing with a legacy which is not very good."
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It may be difficult to measure a rebound when Iranian economic reporting is notoriously opaque. This is something Rouhani seems to be eager to tackle compared to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In September, Iran's central bank said that gross domestic product shrank by 5.4 percent in the year to March 20.
Inflation, which the central bank said is a whopping 44 percent, is a serious cause for concern.
The country is in its second year of recession, according to the International Monetary Fund. Imports fell by 20 percent and exports by 28 percent last year as sanctions bit into the economy. One estimate, from U.S. conservative thinktank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Roubini Global Economics, suggested that Iran could only afford three more months of the status quo, beginning from October.