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New Stanford project will study development of Iran’s economy

Pooya Azadi

Iran 2040 Project Manager, Dr. Pooya Azadi

Jan 1 2017

A new research initiative at Stanford is bringing together experts to create independent data-driven analysis on the current state of Iran’s economy and what its future could look like.

Stanford’s Iranian Studies Program launched the Stanford Iran 2040 Project about eight months ago to conduct interdisciplinary research on economic and technical matters related to the country’s long-term, sustainable development and evaluate their possible implications in a global context. The project is called Iran 2040 because of its forward-looking nature and focus on long-term analysis.

The initiative serves as a hub for researchers around the world, particularly scholars within the Iranian diaspora, and is sponsored by the Iranian Studies Program and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford.

“The purpose of this initiative is to study the Iranian economy, looking at it from a purely economic point of view, regardless of politics,” said Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian Studies Program and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. “Let’s collect the facts, identify problems and solutions and put them on a website in one place.”

Over the last 10 years, the Iranian Studies program has worked to develop Stanford’s course offerings in topics such as Iranian cinema, arts, poetry, politics and language and has become a hub for research on Iran. Creating a separate initiative focused on studying Iran’s economic development seemed like a natural next step, especially in light of the easing of sanctions after the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, Milani said.

Pooya Azadi, the manager of the Stanford Iran 2040 Project, said there is a lack of analysis that gives a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on in Iran and its future outlook.

“Macro-level quantitative analysis of different sectors of the economy is what Iran needs the most for planning towards sustainable development but, sadly, such studies are catastrophically scarce,” said Azadi, whose primary research focus includes energy production and economics. “Our foremost goal is to provide an accurate and unbiased understanding of the status quo for the major problems of the country, and suggest solutions and roadmaps to help make a better future.”

The goal of the project’s first phase is to cover the topics of economy, energy, water, environment, agriculture and transport.

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