Iran unveiled its draft 2018-19 budget this week. On the surface it’s relatively unchanged from the current year (2017-18), with modest revenue and spending gains penciled in. But, with the IMF pegging inflation at 10%, the budget is in effect sharply reduced in real terms.

The new budget comes at a delicate time for Iran as the much touted re-opening of its oil and gas sector has not lived up to expectations. To date, the only contract signed is for South Pars Phase 11 (with Total...