The Governor of Iran’s Central Bank says he is not planning on any relief from international sanctions in the year ahead.
In an exclusive interview with CCTV America’s Asieh Namdar, Valiollah Seif says he is making economic and budget projections as if all sanctions will continue.
“Of course, we have to admit if we have a successful conclusion to these negotiations, we would see more of a positive impact in terms of higher growth, lower inflation and lower unemployment,” Seif said.
Seif said banking sanctions cause the most harm not just to Iran’s economy, but to the region.
“Iran has a high capacity to interact with its neighbors,” Seif said. “Lifting of sanctions could bring stability to the region. Any delay will have negative consequences for the region as a whole.”
Seif touted the ability of President Hassan Rouhani’s government to improve the economy even under continuing sanctions.
Before Rouhani took office in 2013, inflation stood at 39 percent. That figure was cut by more than half to 17 percent in 2013, according to the World Bank. Seif told CCTV America his goal is to cut inflation to single digits within the next two years.
Namdar asked Seif why the average Iranian does not necessarily feel that the economy is actually improving, adding that stories of Iranians working multiple jobs is common.
“The people who’ve lost all sense of stability might not feel the lower rate of inflation because they expect prices to drop,” Seif said. “They make this synonymous with falling inflation.”
Seif said that slowing the rate of inflation simply slows the rate of price increases, but does not actually make items cheaper.
His interview with CCTV America took place on Sunday, just days before the final phase of nuclear talks are scheduled to begin in Vienna. Iran is meeting with the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Russia to discuss sanctions relief in exchange for concessions on its nuclear program.
The sticking point in the talks has been on a timetable for sanctions relief. While the West wants to remove sanctions gradually, Iran insists on all sanctions being lifted at once. When asked what his best case scenario is for this situation, Seif said that question should be directed to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
To learn more about how sanctions are implemented, watch this CCTV America explainer: