With several months having passed since an interim deal between Iran and world powers was inked in Geneva, there are still enough sanctions in place to deter Western firms from significantly increasing their business dealings with the Islamic republic.
But that’s not to say there haven’t been developments on that front. Reuters reported Wednesday that in the past five months, Iran’s oil exports remained above the ceiling stipulated by Western sanctions.
The deal, which went into effect January 20, limits Iran’s oil exports to the 1 million bpd level for a period of six months. However, according to the report, export levels have been consistently higher in recent months – particularly to Asian countries that feel more comfortable trading with Iran with the interim deal in place.
And they’re not the only ones: Payvand reported this week on a summit dedicated to oil and gas opportunities in Iran, set to take place in Dubai in late June. The Oil & Gas 2014 summit, Payvand reported, is to provide businessmen and other professionals “with a platform to gauge the latest developments and new business opportunities during this pivotal time for Iran’s oil and gas industry.”
Possibly with a view towards this projected expansion, Iran will soon become the holder of the largest gas storage facilities in the Middle East, according to the Azeri Trend news agency.
However, reports show that under the sanctions regime, a lack of transparency still plagues trade relations between Iran and its partners. On Wednesday, Market Watch reported that UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran) had called on Austrian steel conglomerate Voestalpine AG to detail the nature of its dealings with Iran. In response, the company issued a clarification, but removed lists of distributors in Iran from the websites of its subsidiaries.
Also on Market Watch, an analysis by Matthew Lynn summed up the excitement in both East and West over the opening Iranian market, calling it “one of the hottest opportunities of the decade.” From pariah state to an “emerging market that everyone wants to invest in” – the French, says Lynn, are “already getting ready,” and other “brave” countries should be queuing up behind it. The terminology of opportunity does not mean that many have not started already, despite the sanctions.