Despite having a more diversified economy than its Gulf neighbours, oil and gas revenues only account for 11 percent of Iran’s GDP. Its oil & gas sectors are strategic not only due to their size (the world’s fourth largest oil reserves and first gas reserves), but also because 40 percent of Iran’s foreign currency reserves come from oil & gas revenues. Although Iran’s multi-level, multi-polar political system allows indirect recourse to the popular will, it maintains decision making power in a fairly small circle dominated by clerical authorities. At the centre is the Supreme Leader, who has the ultimate authority to rule on all state matters. Underneath him are a sprawling number of overlapping and redundant institutions and committees ensuring that the most important decisions are taken by consensus – finding the smallest common denominator acceptable to all of Iran’s many political factions and stakeholders. Given how intertwined politics […]