by Jihad Fakhreddine and Travis Owen
Fewer Iranians report major effect of sanctions on their livelihoods
Economic conditions and standard of living improving
Ahead of the deadline Tuesday for a framework nuclear deal with Iran, some Iranians were already seeing better economic conditions with the limited easing of international sanctions last year. Most Iranians still believed the sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the U.S. and EU had hurt the livelihood of Iranians at least somewhat, but fewer said they have hurt them a great deal in 2014 (45%) than in 2013 (62%).
The U.S. and the international community began easing sanctions early last year. As part of the interim deal, they allowed Iran access to billions of dollars in impounded Iranian assets and allowed some international investment. As part of the current negotiations, Iran is pushing for immediate sanctions relief, while the U.S. and EU favor ending the sanctions in stages.
On a more personal level, far fewer Iranians reported their livelihoods being greatly affected by sanctions than in the past. One in three Iranians in 2014 said their livelihoods have been hurt a great deal by the sanctions, down from 50% in 2013. Additionally, 20% of Iranians in 2014 said that their livelihoods have not been hurt at all by the sanctions, compared with just 12% in 2013.
Only two years ago, the majority of Iranians (59%) saw economic conditions in their country getting worse, and fewer than one in four (23%) saw conditions getting better. Much has changed in the interim. In November 2014, the percentage who said conditions are getting better nearly doubled (41%) from 2013, and Iranians are now as likely to say things are getting better as getting worse (40%).
Another sign that Iranians were feeling some relief is evident in their views on their living standards. More Iranians in 2014 felt that their standard of living is improving than at any time since 2012. Additionally, the percentage of Iranians who said that their standard of living is getting worse declined from 40% to 26% between May and November 2014.
The world is eagerly waiting to find out whether Iran and the P5+1 group will reach a framework nuclear deal on Tuesday, including many Iranians who see the eleventh hour negotiations as crucial in determining how quickly their lives will improve. Gallup’s data illustrate how even the limited relaxation of some sanctions last year quickly and profoundly affected Iranians’ perceptions of their country’s economic situation and their personal living standards. The timeline and the mechanics of the full relaxation of economic sanctions will help Iranian President Hassan Rouhani keep the bold economic promises he made during his presidential election. But while many Iranians likely see the deal as necessary for their country’s future economic progress, it is not guaranteed to resolve all of Iran’s problems as it also contends with rising security tensions in the region.
The trends on Iranians’ views of their national economy and personal living standards are available in Gallup Analytics.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,005 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in November 2014 in Iran. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.