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Iranian Presidential Campaign To Address Economic Troubles

Iran’s economic woes are to be at the core of the forthcoming presidential elections, writes Bijan Khajehpour.
A man counts stacks of Iranian rials at a currency exchange shop in Kerbala , 110 km (70 miles) south of Baghdad January 23, 2013. Traders and owners of hotels in the holy city of Kerbala complain of sluggish business and a drop in Iranian pilgrims as a result of a sharp fall in the Iranian rial caused by a package of international sanctions imposed on the neighbouring country. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed (IRAQ - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS) - RTR3CUEH

A new Iranian year commenced on March 21, 2013 (1392 in the Iranian calendar). The consensus among experts on the Iranian economy is that the previous year (1391) had witnessed the deepest economic crisis in Iran since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.  As such, both the business community and the society at large hope for an economic upturn — something that has been echoed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his New Year speech when he dubbed 1392 as the “Year of Economic and Political Epics.”    

But can Iran realistically move out of the current state of economic decline and embark on a new phase of growth? In other words, which economic challenges would be on the agenda of Iran’s government beyond President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and how could a new government resolve the key issues?

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