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Iran Parliament's Research Arm Says U.S. Sanctions Are Here To Stay

An Iranian man checks currency rates as he walks past an exchange bureau in Tehran. June 22, 2020.

In a new report published on July 28, the Iranian Parliament's Research Center (MRC) has said that U.S. sections are expected to remain in effect in mid and even long terms, and longstanding strategies to cope with them are required.

"The United States' sanctions target the key sectors of the Iranian economy earning foreign currency for the country, and obviously are [also] vulnerable," the report of the research and advisory arm of the Iranian Parliament says and adds: "The passing of time will not help as long as fundamental reforms are not carried out in the domestic economy".

President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between and world powers and Iran in May 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran's economy.

Sanctions are currently one of the main factors impacting the Iranian economy, the MRC says and advises policymakers to actively devise long-term plans to overcome their impact. The first step recommended by MRC is to decrease those aspects of the Iranian economy that are vulnerabe to sanctions while the next recommended step is "to depart from the sanctionable domains in the economy" instead of only relying on tactics to circumvent the sanctions.

The sanctions have particularly hit oil exports hard. On July 11, the U.S. Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook said that Washington’s sanctions have cut Iran’s oil exports from 2.5 million barrels a day in May 2018 to 70,000 barrels in 2020.

Without foreign currency income from oil sales and due to extensive banking restrictions, the Iranian national currency has lost value seven-fold against major currencies. The rial fell as low as 260,000 against the dollar in July this year whereas less than three years ago, it was around 30,000 to the dollar. The devaluation is a huge blow to the stability of commodity prices and can push inflation -- at around 40 percent in 2019 – to uncontrollable levels.

According to the report, the reasons for the durability of the U.S. sanctions include "the completion of the legal infrastructures required for enforcing the sanctions and their open-ended nature, the ease of enforcing the sanctions for the United States (particularly financial sanctions), and the developments in the international energy market which are against Iran's interests".