In Iran the pursuit of a nuclear programme has taken a big economic toll over the years. But now, with Tehran agreeing with Western powers to limit that programme there is potential for some very good economic times. 

Iran has been living with economic sanctions for almost a decade but it was the latest round in 2011 that did the real damage.

The US Congressional Research Service estimates Iran's economy is up to 20 percent smaller than it would have been without the sanctions enacted after 2010. And as international companies shut up shop, unemployment grew to 20 percent in the middle of 2012. Iran reckons the number was closer to 13 percent but that is three percent worse than US unemployment during the Great Recession in 2009.
 
Iran has got the world's fourth largest proven oil reserves, and second largest natural gas reserves. But according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran's energy exports slumped almost 50 percent in 2012-2013 to $63bn.

The removal of the nuclear-related sanctions could revive the Iranian economy: Western oil and gas companies could return to revitalise the industry, which is in need of new technology and investment.

So how will lifted sanctions benefit Iran's crippled economy? And how will this affect the geopolitics of the region?

Sean Evers, the managing director of The Gulf Intelligence, an energy networking firm, talked to Counting the Cost about Iran's economic future.

Source: Al Jazeera