Wall Street Journal:
TEHRAN—A year ago, the president of Iran's chamber of commerce could go more than a month without hosting a foreign business delegation, due to their fears of violating economic sanctions. These days, Gholam Hossein Shafei greets trade missions from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America almost every day and travels to European capitals.
"We have a new environment domestically, and a new look from the outside," the 63-year-old said from his expansive offices in central Tehran, which overlook the abandoned American Embassy. "We have good interest now in our economy."
Firms including energy giants Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC; car maker PSA Peugeot Citroën; and financial firms Deutsche Bank AG and Russia's Renaissance Capital Ltd. have participated in presentations about investment in Iran.
As talks between Iran and six major powers on limiting its nuclear program enter the final stages of diplomacy this week in Vienna ahead of a July 20 deadline, global companies are fact-finding, meeting with potential Iranian partners and jockeying for position should an end to sanctions open the isolated economy.
They are drawn by what could become the largest market in the Middle East, with nearly 80 million people, the majority of whom are under 30, well-educated and tech-savvy, and by the country's energy potential—it has the fourth-largest proven oil reserves and second-largest proven gas reserves in the world...
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