It seems to me although Iran faced hash sanctions with SWIFT ban in 2012 and again in 2018, their GDP took a hit and dropped for two years and but rebounded again (even through Covid). From the chart it seems that Iran might have found ways to make the SWIFT sanctions (remember they also suffered from their sanctions like travel ban and oil export ban) less effective on them. I wonder how Iran mitigated the effect of the SWIFT sanctions.
Among other things:
- Barter trade e.g. with Sri Lanka they are swapping tea and debt, with the EU they are a member of a barter system called the INSTEX, with Pakistan they are swapping oil for food items.
- Sanction evading exports - oil export is sanctioned. so, they are exporting petroleum byproducts e.g. lubricant, methanol, wax, etc.
- Oil smuggling network - they have created a widespread oil smuggling network through which they can sell oil.