Iran returns to the international fold

As sanctions on Iran are lifted, residents of Tehran are hopeful that a return to the international fold will restore the city’s lost prosperity. We spoke to Iranians, from all walks of life, about how their businesses and lives have changed since the new nuclear agreement last year . Photography by Maryam Rahmanian

For a decade, Iran’s economy has been almost entirely cut off from its major export markets by trade sanctions. The US has maintained an embargo since the late-1970s, the UN since 2006 and the EU since 2007, as Tehran’s refusal to agree to a deal on ending its nuclear programme drove the international community to try to isolate the government.

The signing of a new nuclear agreement last year, and a rapprochement with the West led to the EU and US relaxing its sanctions in January, allowing Iranian businesses to look to the world once more. However, Iranians are used to false dawns, and their hopes of new opportunities for trade and prosperity are tempered by fears that international sentiment could shift beneath them once again.