French firm Gide has opened an office in Iran, joining a small handful of international firms to launch in the region.
The office in Tehran will be led by former Gibson Dunn & Crutcher regulatory counsel Mehrnoosh Aryanpour. She joined the French firm as a partner in January ahead of its Iran launch.
Paris-based Christophe Eck will also lead on the firm’s Iran operations, having been Gide’s managing partner in 2010 and 2011.
They are currently supported by two associates, who have joined Gide from local Iranian firms.
The firm is not aligning with a local firm in the region and will practise in Iran under its own name.
It will advise French and international companies on operations in the country, also assisting domestic corporations in advisory and litigation matters.
Aryanpour, in particular, will advise on sanctions and export controls for companies in the transport, energy and infrastructure sector.
Despite advising clients in Saudi Arabia, Gide has few offices in the Middle East region. This followed a review in 2010 which saw the firm close three Middle East offices – in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh.
Gide had had a presence in the Middle East since 1978 when it opened its Riyadh office in response to the second oil crisis. In Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh the firm had respectively five, four and three lawyers.
Since the closure, Gide partners based in Paris, Istanbul and North Africa instead have led on the firm’s operations in the area, working closely with its four hubs in Algiers, Casablanca, Istanbul and Tunis.
A number of international firms have now launched in Iran, including CMS. The firm launched in 2016, with a team from the firm’s German arm leading the office, while Central-Asia firm Colibri also launched in the same year.