Iranian state-run and private companies now welcome and actively invite foreign investment, especially in trade, manufacturing, infrastructure, and leisure and tourism industries. To facilitate such investment, the government has introduced incentives that facilitate funds transfer, reliable insurance cover, and tax exemptions. The Persian Gulf island of Kish constitutes a free trading zone (Kish Free Zone Organization— KFZO) and vies with neighboring Dubai as a trading, tourism, and leisure destination. It offers offshore banking and trading facilities and, as a further incentive, non-Iranians can travel there without a visa.
To conduct business successfully, visitors need to bear in mind that the principles of communication (deference, humility, and cordiality) apply not only to social relationships, but to business relationships too. All visitors, whether on business or for leisure, are considered guests, and as such can expect to be treated with respect, generosity, and warmth and to be looked after and entertained.
On the other hand, visitors should realize that Iranians will exhibit politeness and warmth, behave with deference toward guests, and display humility because they follow their own cultural rules about acceptable behavior. Don’t, however, misinterpret a business partner’s humility as an underestimation of the latter’s abilities, or someone’s show of deference and respect as an indication that the Iranian partner sees the foreign visitor as superior. Iranians are proud of their nation, its ancient civilization, and its culture and expect to be seen and treated as equal partners in projects and partnerships, able to offer as much as they are likely to receive.