The International Monetary Fund has assessed that Iran’s economy is in recession amid expanding US sanctions on Tehran.

The IMF projected Monday that the economy will contract 1.5% this year and 3.6% in 2019 because of “reduced oil production”.

In May — just before Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal and ordered comprehensive sanctions from November 5 — the IMF forecast 4% growth for Iran in 2018 and 2019.

Iran’s oil exports, which provide almost 50% of Government revenue, have fallen 30% since April. They are expected to decline further from November, with leading customers such as India, South Korea, and Japan halting purchases because of the US restrictions.

A sign of that fall came in tanker data for the first week of October, which put exports at 1.1 million barrels per day — a fall of almost 60% from April’s level of 2.5 million bpd.

The IMF also reduced forecast growth for the Middle East region, citing the Iranian slump and increased energy costs because of rising oil prices, fed in part by Iran’s constricted exports.

Iran’s officials said last week that workers have lost 90% of their purchasing power amid low wages and a currency that has lost 70% of its value this year — even as the Supreme Leader tried to maintain that the Islamic Republic will triumph and “slap the US in the face” over sanctions.

Iran Daily, Oct 6: Workers Lose 90% of Purchasing Power — Officials
Iran Daily, Oct 5: Supreme Leader — “We Will Slap the US in the Face”