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Sanctions Against Iran End, Increasing the Value of Persian
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on February 18, 2016  in the following blogs: Market Data, Translation and Localization, Web Globalization
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On January 16th, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between Iran and six world powers took effect. This ended years of economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. It also undid the pariah status of Iran which began with its 1979 revolution. Besides decreasing political and nuclear tensions, the JCPOA has significant economic implications:



  • It unfreezes tens of billions of dollars worth of Iranian assets.
  • Nearly 82 million consumers rejoin the world community. The country has an 86.8% literacy rate, 68.9 million mobile subscribers, and 22.9 million internet users.
  • Years of deferred infrastructure and other investment end. Previously blocked from doing business, foreign companies can now legally sell to consumers, businesses, and government agencies in Iran. 
China and France were immediate beneficiaries. China's President Xi Jinping visited Tehran to discuss a 25-year plan to expand trade and relations, with the goal of US$600 billion in trade within a decade. Right after Jinping left the country, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to France to negotiate the purchase of 118 Airbus planes to restock Air Iran's fleet. Automaker Peugeot Citroen pledged €400 million over the next five years to a joint venture with Khodro, its pre-sanction partner. And French oil company Total said it would buy crude oil from Iran and study potential development in that country. 

Looking ahead, Rouhani tweeted that, "Iran has so much to offer the world as a top tourist destination; hence investment in aviation, hotels & railways is more important than ever" and "Our strategy is no longer one of the past – to sell oil & import end products – but rather to attract foreign investment in order to form JVs [joint ventures]." This outward-looking strategy creates new opportunities for foreign companies ranging from manufacturers to the hospitality industry to financial services – and for the language service providers that can translate into Persian (aka Farsi).

Rouhani's vision could bump up the standing of Persian in CSA Research's annual study of language support on websites. It ranked #22 on our 2015 pre-JCPOA study of language support at the 2,407 most heavily trafficked websites. Persian appears in the third tier of preferred tongues as the slowest-growing of the top 25 languages in terms of economic potential because, as we wrote at the time, "some [companies] avoid Persian if they have no product or service distribution in Iran." With that caveat no longer in effect, the online gross domestic product associated with Persian (US$185.40 billion in 2015) could overtake that of Indonesian ($192.86 billion) by 2017. Localization managers at global companies should ask their LSPs about plans for Persian. 

LSPs that want to grow their Middle Eastern revenue should add Persian to complement their investment in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and other regional languages. That means recruiting linguists, project managers, salespeople, and other staff to market, sell, and support the region. Those that don't add Persian to their language portfolios will miss out as their manufacturing and service industry prospects target the Iranian opportunity.  


 

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