The French car industry is in line for a cash windfall as well as the opportunity to reclaim its once dominant standing in the Iranian market following a thawing of relations between Tehran and the international community.
Renault, which was selling nearly 100,000 cars a year in Iran before sanctions came into force, still has around €200m frozen in the country that could be returned to its French coffers, according to people with knowledge of the group.
The French group is also hopeful that it can win back a large part of the market share it once had in the Iranian car market, where total sales hit 1.6m in 2011, the year before new sanctions were introduced by the US and other world powers.
Two weeks ago Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of these tough sanctions. Restrictions on goods, including auto parts, will be relaxed in January for six months while negotiations continue.
French automakers are cautious, as the success of the next round of talks will determine if the sanctions on auto parts and other goods are permanently lifted, and also if financial sanctions are relaxed allowing money transfers back to France.
"There is a lot of diplomacy still at work," Dominique Thormann, chief financial officer of Renault told the Financial Times. "Clearly the outlook compared to a year ago . . . looks more positive today."
"What we were doing previously could be restarted. If all of that [sanctions] is lifted, presumably business will start just as we left it," he said.