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Economy

Foreign companies ready for Iran's vast oil wealth

TEHRAN -- Foreign companies are ready to resume business with Iran as the country prepares to increase oil exports after the lifting of Western sanctions.

     Iran is one of the Middle East's biggest economies, with a population of around 78 million and a gross domestic product of some $400 billion. Plant engineering is one particular segment slated to benefit as the sanctions removal will simplify trade settlements.

     Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has stressed repeatedly that Iran will boost its crude oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day as soon as the sanctions are removed, and by 1 million barrels six months later. These exports fell to around 1.1 million barrels a day due to the sanctions. 

     In November, Iran revamped the terms of oil field development, replacing a system unfavorable to foreign businesses. Iran appears eager to tap foreign capital and technologies as it moves to upgrade antiquated equipment and take on new projects. Plant engineering companies from Japan, Europe and elsewhere will see fresh business opportunities.

     Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of French automaker Renault, said Jan. 11 that Iran is a very promising market and that the Renault-Nissan alliance is ready to cautiously expand its manufacturing footprint there, AFP reported.

     Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi, Iran's minister of roads and urban development, said Saturday that the country will purchase 114 passenger aircraft from Airbus.

     Medical equipment, urban infrastructure and power generation facilities are other areas in which the country seeks to modernize. Household products from developed countries are popular in Iran, especially among younger people. The country is eager to attract more foreign tourists as well.

     But as economic sanctions can be reinstated over any violation of the nuclear deal, companies still risk losing investments in the country.

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