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.


The GDP of Iran since 2012

  • I may confirm with research, but I suspect that this was done by using means other than wire transfers such as cash, commodity barters including gold, and Iranian currency denominated transactions (just as all banks did before wire transfers were invented).
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 28, 2022 at 20:09
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    I would not call having half the GDP much mitigation. Other than that, the Q is more or less a duplicate of politics.stackexchange.com/questions/69748/… Feb 28, 2022 at 23:15
  • "less effective"? The change really isn't very pronounced. Maybe 10% less effective. Feb 28, 2022 at 23:18
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    @Fizz Compared with the linked thread, my question is more focused on the finance part. By "mitigation" I meant Iran was able to rebound from the sanctions.
    – No One
    Feb 28, 2022 at 23:59
  • "rebound" This is not a pronounced rebound though. It could even be just natural fluctuation. Maybe next year there is a rebound from the rebound. Mar 1, 2022 at 6:23

2 Answers 2


Among other things:

  1. 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.
  2. Sanction evading exports - oil export is sanctioned. so, they are exporting petroleum byproducts e.g. lubricant, methanol, wax, etc.
  3. Oil smuggling network - they have created a widespread oil smuggling network through which they can sell oil.

Ref: How is Iran sustaining its economy?


By shipping dollars in suitcases, diplomatic pouches, and even in vodka boxes. Which sometimes get stolen.

  • Whoever DV this probably doesn't understand what SWIFT is. The accepted answer addresses the broader sanctions. Mar 11, 2022 at 11:13

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