Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said today that last month's nuclear deal with world powers has already boosted the country's economy, as he continues a push to convince skeptics of the benefits brought by the pact's partial sanctions relief. Rouhani told an open session of parliament that, after the "success" of the talks, investors were gravitating to businesses and the stock exchange. "Economic activities have been shifted to the stock exchange from gold, hard currency and real estate," said Rouhani in his televised speech.
Rouhani has recently stressed the deal's offer of sanctions relief in return for a halt to parts of Iran's uranium enrichment program to challenge criticism from hard-liners who say Iran is giving up too much for too little. The Obama administration estimates relief from some sanctions in exchange for a temporary pause in Iran's nuclear enrichment program will amount to just $7 billion, a meager amount for a nation of nearly 80 million people; it's less than one month's worth of Iran's oil production and just 7% of Iran's overseas cash that remains frozen under the sanctions. Nonetheless, analysts say that the deal is a first step toward economic normalcy, and thus is likely to have a psychological effect that could boost markets. Rouhani spoke as inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog began their visit to a heavy water production plant that Iran agreed to open to inspection last month.