>> Iran is attempting to come in from the cold. This week rolling out the red carpet for global investors ahead of the presidential election on May 19. Keen to reap the benefits of the 2015 nuclear deal, President Hassan Rouhani's government has welcomed multiple delegations from Europe's top energy companies in recent months.
Those who'd come held the promise of Iran's vast oil and gas reserves, with over a dozen agreements for field studies signed last year. But none of those commitments have turned into signed contracts. That's because many fear US President Donald Trump will act on promises to scrap the deal to lift sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Reuters EU Energy Correspondent Alissa de Carbonnel joined the latest delegation to Tehran.>> EU diplomats, with businessmen in tow, are here to show the United States they are fully committed to the deal. They're also here to make sure that Iranian's politicians know that the deal still holds a promise of an economic payoff.
Companies have been slow to move after sanctions have been rolled back because of a number of remaining problems, not least of which remaining US sanctions and an uncertain political environment.>> Foreign firms must also grapple with Iran's skeletal banking system, red tape, and the threat of hefty fines if they fall foul of remaining US restrictions.
All that has been enough to see oil field services firm Schlumberger withdraw from a planned deal, but others are holding form. France's Total, poised to make the first investment by a Western oil major since the nuclear deal, but says the decision hinges on Trump's renewal of US sanctions waivers.
Once again, Iran's future is very much tied to decisions made in the White House. That's enough to have Rohani's critics accusing him of betting in vain on raproshma with the West.