As Iranians welcomed the New Year on 20 March the country’s two top leaders looked to economic revival in their Nowruz speeches. Their mixed messages on Iran’s economy demonstrate the turbulent waters Iran must navigate.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei says 1395 is the year of “Resistance Economy: Action and Implementation.” he has frequently advocated the “resistance economy” since 2012, urging Iran to develop domestic institutions to counter external...