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Despite nuclear deal, EU firms still cautious on Iran

Despite the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, European firms remain cautious about seriously re-entering the Iranian market during the current wait-and-see period.
Hashem Yekkeh-Zareh, the CEO of industrial group Iran Khodro (2-R) and the head of French car manufacturing giant PSA group, Carlos Tavares (2-L), attend a press conference at the Iran Khodro Industrial Group showroom in the Iranian capital Tehran, on October 5, 2016. / AFP / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Since the signing and implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European businesses have shown great interest in re-entering Iran. Trade between Iran and the EU has already notably picked up. Last year, European exports to Iran amounted to 8.3 billion euros ($8.9 billion), approximately 28% higher than the year before. Meanwhile, European imports grew by some 345%, amounting to 5.5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) — mostly driven by largely resumed oil shipments from Iran.

But despite the uptick in trade, economic relations between Iran and the EU are still below pre-sanctions levels. In 2011, before the imposition of stringent nuclear-related sanctions including the previous EU oil embargo, EU exports to Iran amounted to more than 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion), while imports were as high as almost 18 billion euros ($19.2 billion).

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