The economy moved out of recession in 2014, so a modest improvement was discernible prior to the recent nuclear/sanctions deal. Further momentum is expected, with +2% growth in 2015 and +3.5% in 2016 (or +4% if sanctions are lifted). However, growth will remain below the pre-sanction annual average of +5%. Lifting international sanctions will have a marked impact on trade, with exports and imports both potentially increasing by +20% in 2016 and imports increasing by a further +13% in 2017. There will be opportunities for exporters into Iranian metal, machinery and equipment, automotives and food markets. Initially, European exporters will benefit the most, although current market leaders (the UAE and China) will also make gains. For local industries, sanctions relief will result in marked changes in the energy, automotives, construction and retail sectors, with increasing market dynamism but also tougher global competition. The post-sanctions period will be challenging. Substantial investment in infrastructure and industry is required at a time when foreign exchange and credit risks will increase and social and political expectations require management. Increasing annual GDP growth to >5% for a protracted period will require structural changes. Iran: Back in the game? - Report