Iran Nuclear Deal Opened Access to Goods, Not Jobs, Poll Finds

  • Iranians surveyed find investments, employment little changed
  • Most respondents still back the 2015 nuclear deal in survey

A yellow taxi cab passes a public monument showing the face of Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic of Iran, in Tehran.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and subsequent sanction relief have provided better access to foreign goods, but few locals believe it has led to more jobs, a new poll shows.

Seventy percent of 700 Iranians surveyed nationwide by phone said multinationals had been slow to commit to trading with or investing in Iran, and most respondents cited concern about U.S. pressure as the reason, according to a survey by Toronto-based IranPoll in partnership with Bourse & Bazaar, an online business publication focused on the country.

While 43 percent of respondents found goods manufactured by multinationals have become more accessible, some 57 percent said the firms haven’t created more jobs for locals and 43 percent perceived their level of investment as unchanged, according to the report, provided to Bloomberg ahead of its release.

The findings suggest President Hassan Rouhani, who started his second term last month, may struggle to deliver on campaign promises. Rouhani won a second term by pledging to build on the accord, which only came into effect last year, by attracting more foreign investment and helping boost employment.

Instead, the poll suggests Iranians aren’t seeing tangible change, and the fate of the accord is now in question as the U.S. applies additional sanction and lobbies European signatories to add restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Even so, some 62 percent of respondents said they still approved of the agreement.

Talks Ahead

While Iran has struck major deals in energy and transportation, many companies and major banks have been hesitant to explore business opportunities, citing political uncertainty stemming from Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency and the risk of running into other sanctions.

Foreign ministers of the seven nations that signed the deal including the U.S., Iran, the U.K. and France are to meet Sept. 20 on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly debate in New York. The meeting would serve to discuss the deal’s flaws as seen by the U.S. and will have Iran emphasize what it considers U.S. violations of the agreement, American and Iranian officials have said.

Details of the survey, which was conducted in August in cities across Iran’s 31 provinces, will be presented at next month’s Europe-Iran Forum, which brings together businesses working in or with an interest in Iran.

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