Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Iran, bracing for more sanctions, admits the pain

Western sanctions have taken such a toll on Iran over the past 18 months that now -- as the screw is about to be tightened yet further -- Tehran's studied insouciance is slipping, with officials admitting the economic damage being felt.

"War-time conditions" demanded dramatic policy reactions, the head of Tehran's chamber of trade and industry, Yahya AlEshaq, told Sunday's Iran Daily newspaper.

The country must now act "as if under siege," the governor of Iran's central bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, agreed in comments to reporters and businessmen over the past week.

Signs of economic difficulties have been accumulating: investments are becoming rare, imports are becoming pricier, and Iran's currency is sliding.

The United States and Europe are about to again ratchet up the pressure with measures against Iran's central bank and vital oil sector.

They will add to severe sanctions imposed since 2010 by a West trying to halt Iran's nuclear programme, which it suspects masks ambitions for atomic weapons, despite Tehran's denials. Read More