Trump rhetoric rattles Iranian business

Post-nuclear deal progress in doubt as US bellicosity triggers surge of uncertainty
FULL ARTICLE https://www.ft.com/content/09d4abbe-eebd-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6

As soon as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers took effect, Majid Zamani and his partners set up an investment boutique with the aim of tapping into the flood of foreign business they hoped would flow into the Islamic republic. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email addressInvalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. Progress was initially sluggish as overseas investors took a cautious approach to Iran, yet Mr Zamani, a US-educated former World Bank consultant, remained confident about Kian Capital Management’s prospects. But the election of Donald Trump and his bellicose rhetoric towards Iran has triggered a surge of uncertainty and forced him and other Iranian businessmen to recalibrate their plans. They no longer expect the foreign investment to flow easily and instead are refocusing on their domestic market.

Business leaders also take solace from the fact that Iran’s $16.6bn deal for Boeing jets remains on track. Five days before Mr Trump’s inauguration, Iran was celebrating the arrival of Iran Air’s first new aircraft — an Airbus jet — in 23 years, a symbolic moment in a country desperately in need of investment.

There are no signs that French companies such as Airbus and Peugeot are under pressure to reconsider deals they reached with Iran in the wake of the nuclear agreement. However, it emerged last night that the oil company Total made its decision to invest in Iran conditional on the Trump administration’s renewal of US sanctions waivers by the summer.

Steven Daines, chief executive of new businesses at Accor Hotels, says the French group is not altering its plans to operate hotels in Iran. But on a visit to Tehran this week, he acknowledged that “we are finding it more difficult than anticipated because of concerns of instability both domestically and internationally [about investing in Iran]”.

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