Polls Apart - February 2016
In early 2016 a significant percentage of the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US and EU were lifted. With the country having largely been closed to foreign investment since the 1970s, when snactions were first imposed, the decision could prove an historic one.
For investors, the opportunities in the country, the second biggest economy in the region, are plentiful. Iran has oil and natural gas reserves that are among the largest in the world, a well developed stock exchange, and a burgeoning and youthful middle class (50% of the 80 million population are under 35), who will want to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the world market in consumer goods and services.
But there are significant risks for any foreign businesses wanting to take advantage of these new opportunites. Corruption in the public sector is a problem and some sanctions remain in place, contravening them has serious implications. The protections available to foreign investments are untested and there are language barriers and cultural differences that need to be overcome.
Like the rest of the business community, international and regional law firms will find themselves weighing up the pros and cons of opening in Iran in the coming months and years.
With that in mind, this month we are asking our readers how they think the Iranian legal market could develop following the easing of sanctions through a series of weekly polls.
Polls Apart is IFLR1000 Surveys' weekly poll. Throughout the year we conduct a series of linked weekly polls centered around a common theme, one that could significantly impact your work and the legal landscape.
The findings of each series of polls are then analysed and collated into a short report highlighting the main themes that have emerged.
By gathering your thoughts we can build a real-time picture of how the market is reacting to a particular topic, which will allow our readers the opportunity to compare their views with those of other legal professionals worldwide.