Khamenei pointed to broad areas of concern such as production, employment, recessionary developments, smuggling, as well as imports and exports. Nonetheless, experts believe that on balance, the Rouhani administration has produced positive results considering the depth of the economic crisis that the Ahmadinejad government had generated.
The assessment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also been positive. In fact, the latest IMF Report says:
“The Iranian economy has had an ‘impressive recovery’ following sanctions relief last year, though uncertainty regarding the fate of the nuclear deal and relations with the US threaten to undermine it. … Growth is expected to be 6.6 percent in the calendar year ending March 20, reflecting the rebound in oil production and exports, and stabilize at 4.5 percent over the medium-term as the recovery broadens.”
The report also highlights the government’s ability to maintain inflation in single digits and stabilize the foreign exchange market.
There have also been unexpected positive impacts. For example, tourism has experienced a welcome growth in Iran. Analysts agree that the emerging growth in the tourism sector will create needed jobs and contribute to economic growth. The growth in tourism has also led to massive domestic and international investment in the construction of hotels and other needed infrastructure.
All in all, the Rouhani government’s economic policies have generated some positive results, but the economy is in need of bold initiatives to improve the business climate and pave the way for greater private sector activity. Evidently, some of the needed changes will also require political, legal and structural reforms, which may be an uphill challenge that Rouhani will face in his potential second term as president.