On implementation day of the landmark 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a number of multilateral and unilateral sanctions on Iran were lifted, including all EU measures in a number of sectors like banking and finance, insurance and shipping. Suddenly Iran became a potential gold-mine: an untapped and diversified market, the second largest economy in the Middle East, a young and educated population, and a country with the fourth-biggest oil reserves and the second-biggest gas reserves in the world.
With these changes came great foreign interest. Sixteen trade delegations visited Iran in the first three months after implementation day last year and the number of visiting trade delegations increased by 237% over one year. Between January and mid-March 2016, Iran struck an estimated $50 billion in deals with firms from Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Germany.