Despite continued sanctions and uneasy relations between the U.S. and Iran, the Middle Eastern country recorded the largest stock market growth in the world for 2019 as alternative businesses to oil pop up in the country.
The Tehran Stock Exchange overall index saw the largest growth in the world for 2019, with an index score of 159,855 in February of 2019 ending at 454,619 in February of 2020.
U.S. sanctions have targeted Iran for decades, primarily aiming at the country’s main export of oil to cripple the economy as a whole. New businesses focused on petrochemicals, mining, agriculture and other industries have diversified the market to provide a small buffer to sanctions aimed at oil. Also, a rise in highly educated citizens in the country has led to new businesses and rise in political participation.
Still, while the stock market is doing surprisingly well in Iran, protests and rising fuel prices have contributed to an overall shrinking economy in the country. Some believe the stock market rise could be misleading about the economic health of Iran for the future.