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US uncertainty over nuclear deal complicates Iran's economy

Far from an unintended consequence of President Trump’s posturing, the uncertainty around the future of the Iranian nuclear deal has slowed the re-entry of Iran's economy into the global market.

As the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) enters its third year of implementation, an atmosphere of uncertainty has slowed the pace of post-sanctions trade and investment. In Tehran, government figures have sought to lay blame for Iran’s faltering economic recovery on a concerted American campaign to undermine the agreement and dissuade investment. In a September interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pointed to the atmosphere of uncertainty as a part of US President Donald Trump’s strategy to undermine the deal. He said, “I think he has made a policy of being unpredictable, and now he's turning that into being unreliable as well. He has violated the letter, spirit, everything of the deal.”

Another view has been promulgated in Washington — one that points emphatically at risks endemic to Iran’s economy, particularly in regard to the economic activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Since President Trump decertified the Iran nuclear deal in October, American officials and advocacy groups have been even more vocal about these risks.

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