November 26, 2015

IT'S A TRADE DEAL:

Iran offers huge economic potential. Can it deliver? (John Defterios, 11/25/15, CNNMoney)

Jewelry designer Anahita Ostadi has also struggled with the banking restrictions, as well as high taxes and daunting bureaucracy.

"I hope in the future we have a country that is open to everyone, especially the U.S. and the others," Anahita told CNN.

That view is shared by many of Iran's younger generation. (Some 60% of the population is under 30.)

But it's at odds with the country's hardliners. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said recently that he wanted to "seriously avoid importing consumer goods from the United States."

Still, businesses are preparing to cater for that demand. Opened just 15 months ago, The Kourash Complex is the first ultra modern mall in Tehran. It has more than 500 stores, and attracts 40,000 shoppers a day.

"In my opinion, yes they want U.S. products," said Ali Rezaei, owner of "Ave est" -- one of the first men's retailers to open up in the complex.

Amir Rizai, the mall's manager, says "Iran's Golden Times" are just two to five years away.

If all goes well, Iran could see economic growth of nearly 6% in 2016, and 6.7% the following year, according to the Institute of International Finance. That compares with less than 1% projected by the IMF this year.

The upbeat forecasts assume that the government of President Hassan Rouhani manages to navigate change successfully. Iran is on the cusp of ending years of economic isolation; a younger generation is yearning to open up, but the hardliners are pushing back, unwilling to give up the way they have done business for decades.

Posted by at November 26, 2015 7:41 AM

  

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