Entering the Iranian market

FOLLOWING Martin Johnson’s excellent piece on the “reopening of Iran” last week, I wanted to quickly cover some key aspects of market entry.

Many organisations are justifiably worried about entering markets where there is significant perceived geopolitical and security risk.

Iran is actually a low risk environment from a security perspective.

There have been no acts of terrorism and it’s an environment where you can walk around without fear of mugging or assault, using the same level of common sense as you would in the UK.

However, there’s significant political risk due to tensions with Saudi Arabia, and given that it shares borders with Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the situation could change rapidly.

Iraq has historically been a significant regional actor for Iran.

At various points over the past few centuries, it has been a foe, a rival and a strategic partner.

Tehran and Baghdad have been actively working to develop their economic ties, and today, Iraq is one of Iran’s top five trading partners.

Tehran has also encouraged Iranian companies to invest in Iraqi infrastructure projects in order to increase the two countries’ interdependence.

So, Iran could give organisations an entry point for companies entering the market to offer services into both countries.

The ongoing activities of ISIS in Iraq represent one of the most significant threats to Iranian national security since the end of the Iran–Iraq War.

Unlike other conflicts in the Middle East, the territorial integrity and stability of Iraq are not optional for Iran.

Consequently, Tehran is a key stakeholder in the crisis.

If you are operating in or thinking about operating in Iran, think about how you manage deployment, how you induct and communicate with your teams operating abroad.

Think about how you would repatriate, how you would respond to a changing security profile.

Do you have the resources in place to monitor escalation and to decide when it's the right time to either increase your security infrastructure, or in a worst-case scenario, bring your people home,