With the lifting of sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, the country is opening its major infrastructure projects to companies from around the world.
Iran is back on the world market.
In 2006, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on the country in an effort to make the Iranian government reconsider its ambitions to enrich uranium – a process that was seen as a potential step towards a nuclear weapons programme.
The sanctions were finally lifted in January this year.
It was good news for the Iranian people, and also potentially good news for companies that had been excluded from Iran’s market.
World energy prices are not in Iran’s favour – but Iran is still the second largest economy in the Middle East.
The country accounts for 13.1% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, according to OPEC’s figures for 2015.
Those reserves are complemented by the largest natural gas fields in the world after Russia.
The World Bank expects GDP growth in the country to reach 4.3% this year.
And there’s a further boost from Russia, whose government committed to a €2.5bn (£2.1 bn) loan for infrastructure projects in June. The amount includes funding for a €1.2bn (£1.1bn) plan to electrify 495km of rail.
South Korea has made a strong intervention in Iran, with Samwoo E&C signing up to a $4bn (£3.03bn) motorway project this week in cooperation with the Shams Omran Construction and Engineering Company.
Meanwhile, a European Union delegation visited Tehran in early July to discuss links in sectors including raw materials, and construction. A further “European Economic Mission” is scheduled for October.
And it’s more than talk from the Europeans. Italy’s nationalised road construction company Anas signed up to a €3.6bn (£3bn) motorway construction deal this month. The 1,200km motorway will strengthen Iran’s links with Turkey.
Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato also hopes to start work on a €4bn (£3.38 bn) high speed rail ink between Qom and Arak next year while French rail operator SNCF has been contracted to redevelop stations in large Iranian cities.
And the UK? Well, the news is a little more slow but the Department for Transport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Iran Railways for rail process management.
Perhaps the best is yet to come.