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What will happen once Iran's assets are unfrozen?

The repatriation of Iran's $120 billion in blocked assets must be paced and rational to avoid negative consequences for its economy, and Tehran must make investment decisions based on technocratic approaches as opposed to political and ideological ones.
A security personnel stands in front of the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province,1032 km (641 miles) southwest of Tehran, September 28, 2011. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi  (IRAN - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY INDUSTRIAL) - RTR2RYWC

One of the issues currently debated among Iranian decision-makers and economists is how the country will use its sizable hard currency holdings once they are released by international banks in the process of sanctions relief. There are different calculations regarding Iran’s frozen assets in international accounts, but the most reasonable figure is $120 billion. Considering that the country’s total trade volume in 2014 was about $160 billion, it is clear that Tehran will have to make a few strategic choices on how to utilize the released funds so that it does not undermine its overall economic development.

So far, since the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (initiated in January 2014), the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has repatriated some $25 billion of released funds in the form of cash or gold back to the country. According to Valiollah Seif, the CBI governor, these funds have been used to regulate the domestic currency markets and provide for a stable exchange rate. However, experts agree that a quick repatriation of the remaining funds — an intuitive move to escape future sanctions — would increase liquidity and put pressure on the current value of the Iranian rial. Any repatriation should be paced and rational to avoid negative consequences for the economy.

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