Since 2017, the Trump administration has placed layers of tough sanctions on Iran in an effort to deprive the regime of financial resources and to force it to negotiate a new nuclear deal.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent speech that the administration’s strategy of “maximum pressure” aims to cut off 80% of Iran’s oil revenues and that “President Rouhani himself said that we have denied the Iranian regime some $200 billion in lost foreign income and investment as a result of our activities.”

Yet Iran’s economy has not collapsed.

“I think the predictions of a quick economic collapse were too optimistic,” says Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, an economics professor at Virginia Tech specializing in the Iranian economy. Despite the Trump administration’s crushing sanctions, there is “a misunderstanding of the level of complexity of Iran’s economy and how good they are or how experienced they are with resisting sanctions.”

To be sure, the increasing sanctions since 2017 have hit Iran’s economy hard.

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