Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Iran Air to sell commercial passenger airplanes to the country. This could be a good news for Iranian startups since U.S. based companies can’t offer their services or products directly to Iranian companies.
If you have a startup in Iran you might have encountered many problems with the U.S. based companies. Even if a company has a U.S. citizen on their board of directors the company can’t have a business relationship with Iran easily. For the past years, many companies in Iran have been using the services or products of U.S. based companies. As for the physical products, there is always a middleman company or a person who is importing the U.S based products from another country to Iran such as Apple products.
If it’s a software product which is not cloud based, people or companies would use the pirated versions. And if it’s cloud based, things would get complicated since the companies normally have to pay the subscription fee and the service provider could easily find out where you are coming from, so they could shut you down immediately. We can mention many incidents which Iranian companies got cut off from the services that they had been using for many months or years. For some companies, things might have gotten even more complicated since the American companies cut them off without any notice, taking MailChimp as an example.
But back into the Iran Air deal with Boeing, since the relationship between Iranian and U.S. based companies are complicated, this is a big step forward in terms of business relationships with U.S. And it’s only natural, Iran might be the last untouched emerging market in the world and everyone wants to get in as soon as possible in order to not get behind the competitors. Since the European companies are getting in the market in every industry possible, it’s only logical to see that American companies putting so much pressure on the U.S. government to provide a platform to work with Iran directly. In the telecommunication industry, we are seeing Siemens providing consultancy and equipment to Iranian companies. Even there has been some talks over purchasing MCI’s (the first mobile operator of Iran) shares by the European company Orange.
We have been in touch with many American startups and media outlets, and all of them showed major interest in entering Iran. But with the U.S. sanctions on Iran, none of them can enter without going through so much trouble for getting a permission from the U.S. government. Even many European banks are afraid of working with Iran because of the U.S. influence over them. But with all the trouble, at the end it would be in their interest in the long run, to work with Iran. Boeing deal is one of the biggest direct deals between the two countries since trade sanctions on Tehran were attenuated by the international community. It is a big milestone in the history of the two countries and this might open up new opportunities in other sectors and industries as well.
Any agreements or deals will be contingent on US government approval and that’s why this deal is so unique. Who knows, we might see U.S. startup accelerators such as 500 Startups which are active in the region or other VCs and startups in Iran in the near future.
Tell us about what you think. Do you think Iran and the U.S. would sign other deals in other industries as well? share your ideas with us in the comments.