Report: Iran’s Economy Lags Behind Regional Rivals for 50 Years

Iran’s economy has significantly fallen behind its regional competitors over the past half-century, according to a new report by the data analysis group Iran Open Data.


The report highlights a stark contrast between Iran’s economic standing in the 1970s and its current position.

Just seven years before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran boasted an economy twice the size of South Korea’s.

Today, South Korea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is more than three and a half times larger than that of Iran’s.

Iran’s GDP grew by 190 percent between 1971 and 2022. Meanwhile, South Korea’s economy experienced a staggering 2,370 percent increase during the same period.

Türkiye and Saudi Arabia also saw significant growth, with their economies expanding by 872 percent and 411 percent respectively.

This economic disparity is reflected in global rankings. World Bank data shows that in 1971, Iran held the 17th position among the world’s largest economies.

South Korea ranked significantly lower at 29th, while Saudi Arabia and Türkiye were positioned at 18th and 21st respectively.

However, the past five decades have seen a dramatic shift.

Today, South Korea sits comfortably at 11th, followed by Türkiye at 16th and Saudi Arabia at 20th. Iran, once a regional leader, now occupies the 27th position.