(Reuters) - Hossein Ahmad, an Iranian who runs a jewelry shop in wealthy Dubai, marvels at the spending power he sees on show during his monthly trips to Tehran, a year after U.S. sanctions largely froze Iran out of the global banking system.
Shops in the Iranian capital are crowded. Finding a seat at good restaurants can be difficult. And the ski resorts in the mountains north of Tehran continue to attract Tehran's glamorous and well-heeled.
"The economy has problems with the sanctions, yes. But it's still working," he says. "It isn't as bad as people outside the country think."
Sanctions are clearly having an impact; the country's oil revenue has been slashed and other trade disrupted; a weak currency has sent the prices of some imports soaring, destroying jobs as some factories using imported parts have folded.
But they are not close to having the "crippling" effect envisaged by Washington. The Iranian government has found ways to soften the impact, and Iran's economy is large and diverse enough to absorb a lot of punishment. Read it all...