Lifting sanctions: Iran has its ‘Lexus and Olive Tree’ moment; which will prevail?

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Even as Iran celebrated the Implementation Day-when the International Atomic Energy Agency said the former has met all its commitments under the nuclear accord last July paving the way for the removal of all nuclear-related sanctions and reconnecting the country, which till recently had a major tiff with the West, to the world economy-there were also voices in the country that felt things might not be as rosy as they seem.

Pro-globalisation forces are happy but not small traders

Iran

Morgan Stanley said the development would mark "the return of the biggest economy to the global system since the break-up of the USSR" but small traders in the West Asian country, which is the second-largest economy in the region after Saudi Arabia and has a largely young population with an impressive tech-savvy nature, feel the good results wouldn't show overnight.

They feel opening up Iran's economy after the nuclear deal with the West would invite disaster as a lot of local firms would be destroyed in the transition period towards a better future. The new economic reality would see customers running after foreign brands, sealing the fate of the national ones, they said.

And rightly so. Those involved in importing foreign goods said the lifting of the sanctions would make it easier for them to bring home latest products and reduce the costs paid at the medium levels. The sanctions had seriously hampered their trade and many enterprises had to be shut because of this, they said.

Most traders in Iran said the people of the country were bearing a psychological burden of the sanctions and not spending money even if they had it. The curbing of the sanctions would make them a confident lot is what the general opinion. The traders are also looking forward to entry of foreign tourists to see their products' sales go up.

Iran leadership quickened things ahead of polls

Iran's fortunes saw a shift under the presidency of the moderate Hassan Rouhani, who was elected in 2013 on a pledge to end the nuclear crisis. The Rouhani administration hastened the process to see the sanctions getting lifted keeping in mind the elections in Iran next month. Some feel the removal of sanctions would only benefit the government and not the people who would bear the brunt of price rise.

What US is saying?

For President Barack Obama who is nearing the end of his tenure, the latest development in Iran, including the release of five Americans held there, is a big achievement. However, for many in Washington, the Obama administration surrendered before Iran through the deal. After Tehran's testing two ballistic missiles last year, opponents of the deal were expecting more sanctions to be imposed but the Obama administration felt otherwise. The outcome in Iran will certainly make the Republicans' attack more sharp ahead of the presidential election in November this year.

Oneindia's Take:

Reconnecting of Iran with the global economy despite the challenges like plummeting oil prices, concerns over the country's support of terrorism and human rights abuses and stronghold of the Revolutionary Guards can have a bright impact on the politics of West Asia, one of the most volatile regions of the world.

Being a big player in the regional politics, Iran can utilise the new opportunities created by the lifting of the sanctions to add more substance to its role and help resolving the crisis in Syria, the challenge posed by the IS and engage with the western economic powers more to effect an overall development in the region.

However, abiding by the nuclear deal and finding a way to engage with Saudi Arabia, another big player in the region with which it is currently witnessing a declining relation, would determine the success of Iran in the post-sanction period.

Iran has reached its ‘Lexus and the Olive Tree' moment. Which one will prevail finally is for it to decide.

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