Interest From Europe European and Asian companies aren't bound by U.S.-style prohibitions against Iran — and they're rushing to get a piece of the action. France's Total SA, Europe's No. 3 oil company, is in talks to construct a $2 billion liquefied natural gas plant.
Alcatel SA, the world's second-biggest maker of telecommunications gear, is building Iran's phone system and supplying lines for high-speed Internet service.
In February, Japan's state-run oil company, Inpex Corp., and Osaka, Japan-based trading company Tomen Corp. agreed to spend $2.5 billion to develop the Azadegan oil field.
Michael Thomas, an adviser to the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry, says Iran is ripe for foreign investment. “Iran has everything the West needs: cheap energy, lots of raw material and a large labor pool,” he says.