Whatever happens in DC, Europe grows Iran business

As the European Union (EU) and Iran have scheduled what could be significant talks in December 2016, European companies – especially French ones – have developed their Iran-based business quickly despite fears that the next US President, either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump, could harden the American stance on Iran if not question the “historic” Nuclear Deal – also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – reached in July 2015.

In fact, European businessmen have shown increasing confidence in the January 2016 termination of sanctions imposed on Iran – with the exception of the American ones. For instance, French carmaker Renault has increased its sales in Iran by 127% in September 2016 alone and has planned the installation of services centers within the framework of a fresh agreement reached with the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO).

French multinational oil and gas company Total has been the most active European company in Iran’s energy sector and a USD 2 billion deal should be finalized by March 2017, concretizing a preliminary deal agreed almost two years ago ahead of the JCPOA. A number of German firms – BASF, Linde Group and Air, Deutsche Bahn – have also expressed their strong interest in contributing to similar projects in Iran’s petrochemical, transportation sectors but have yet to sign any major deal.

According to Iranian officials, Iran’s growth potential and sustainable security would mainly explain why European investors have been keen to invest in the country.