Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

For the second consecutive year, Iran’s economy is expected to shrink as inflation could reach as high as 40 percent, reported Reuters on Monday, citing an International Monetary Fund senior official.

The projection comes amid U.S. sanctions that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord, but reimposed in November under the Trump administration, in addition to new economic penalties against Tehran.


“Approaching May 8, which is the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear deal, policy-makers in Washington should be even more cognizant about the duration of time needed for sanctions to work and to drive Iran back to the negotiating table,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS.

Iran’s economy decreased by 3.9 percent last year, according to the IMF, which predicts it will shrink by 6 percent this year.

“Clearly, the re-imposition of sanctions and the removal of the waivers will have additional negative impact on the Iranian economy both in terms of growth and in terms of inflation, where inflation could reach 40 percent or even more this year,” Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department, told Reuters.

Moreover, the IMF projection comes in the aftermath of the United States announcing last week that it will not extend waivers to countries over importing Iranian oil as part of its goal to exert maximum pressure on Tehran.

Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India were among the countries that received exemptions for importing Iranian petroleum after the U.S. sanctions that were reimposed last November.

The other recipients—Greece, Italy and Taiwan—have already ended imports of Iranian oil.

The waivers expire on May 2.

U.S. sanctions against Iran have blocked more than $10 billion in oil revenue to Tehran, said a U.S. official earlier this month, according to Reuters, which reported that the rial, Iran’s currency, lost more than 60 percent in 2018.