Partners Alan Churley and David Yates (co-heads of Corrs Middle East Group) are visiting Iran in mid-May 2016, with the visit facilitated by consultant Pouyan Afshar of Project Caspian.

In January 2016, UN sanctions imposed on Iran were suspended, which resulted in the Australian Government lifting most of Australia’s autonomous sanctions and sanctions imposed in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council. With the lifting of sanctions against Iran, now is the time for Australian businesses to be carefully looking at how they can do business with Iran.

With a population of just under 80 million, Iran is one of the largest countries in the Middle East. It is a relatively stable state in the region with a young, educated, vibrant and entrepreneurial population. It is rich in natural resources (including minerals, metals, the fourth largest proven oil reserves in the world and the largest natural gas supply in the world), and with emerging sectors including agriculture, education, manufacturing, services and technology. There are opportunities for Australian businesses to help expand and modernise these and other sectors, alone or in partnership with Iranian businesses.

Investment in Iran

Iran's Economy Minister, Ali Taib-Nia, recently indicated that Iran welcomes investment, in particular in infrastructure projects. Iran is calling for investment and cooperation in relation to oil-related infrastructure projects, petrochemical plants, auto manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, tourism and mining. The Iranian Government's stated aim is to develop local capabilities in the medium to long term and to enhance indigenous manufacturing and industrial infrastructure. As Pouyan observed in a recent publication: “As the gates open and communication resumes in earnest, investors will get to learn more about Iran and its opportunities. The key is to get ahead of the curve and get a foothold in market.

Investment in Australia

As part of Corrs’ international engagement, we aim to bring international opportunities to our clients and to facilitate our clients’ evaluation and pursuit of these opportunities. “With the re-emergence of Iran into the international community, a key driver for our visit to Iran is to identify opportunities which may be of interest to our clients and contacts, particularly in the infrastructure, resources and projects areas. As a result of the trip, we also intend to connect our clients with government and private sector in Iran, to facilitate our clients’ business activities in that region.”

Corrs has significant experience acting for inbound investors into Australia, in respect of a broad range of asset classes.

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