The ruble has been hit by Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Above, a board shows foreign currency rates against the Russian ruble outside an exchange office in Moscow last year.
The ruble has been hit by Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Above, a board shows foreign currency rates against the Russian ruble outside an exchange office in Moscow last year. - 
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The U.S. reached a deal with Iran on lifting international economic sanctions, and in return, Iran would limit its nuclear activity.

Russia has been experiencing economic sanctions for nearly a year. Have they worked, so far?

"Sanctions have a very important political row," says Olga Smirnova of the BBC. "And from that point of view, they have worked, they have shown that Europe is united. It’s a different question if we are talking about economics."

Smirnova stresses that falling oil prices and deflation of the ruble have strained Russia economically.  

"Russia is a developing economy, and it needs access, and it doesn’t have its own capital. It needs access to foreign capital, and that access has been denied," Smirnova says.

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Follow Molly Wood at @mollywood