Basic Guide for Investigating Iranian Companies
Researching companies in Iran for sanctions compliance and third-party risk management poses unique challenges, especially for investigators without Persian language skills.
However, the guide below demonstrates a basic workflow that will enable you to successfully identify Iranian companies and pinpoint recent business activities using public records and open-source information.
1. Accurately identify a company’s name:
Iranian companies are required to have a unique legal name in Persian. A company’s Persian name can be found on the homepage or “About Us” section of its corporate website.
For non-Persian speakers, start by searching the open source with the company’s English name. If the corporate website does not appear in the search results, run a new query with a Persian translation of the company’s name after using a translation tool like Google Translate for assistance.
It is important to note that using translation tools to produce a literal Persian translation of a company’s English name can sometimes be inaccurate based on a variety of factors. For instance, English names of Iranian companies may be partial transliterations or translations, in which some words are translated while others are transliterated.
An example of this multi-element translation is evident in the company name: Tuka Foolad Investment Company. It incorporates a proper name “Tuka”, plus the transliteration of the Persian word for steel “foolad,” and the English translation of the word “investment” from the original Persian.
Transliterations of the Persian-script are based on Persian naming conventions.
Even after finding the Iranian company’s website, the official English name may not be immediately apparent or the English version of the website may be unavailable in certain jurisdictions outside Iran. In these cases, transliterations of the company’s Persian name may be located in the company logo, domain name, or in the footer of the webpage where updates are reported.
2. Find the company’s unique identifiers:
Once you know the Persian name of a company, you can search for a unique identifier in Iran’s Official Gazette (Rooznameh Rasmi). All companies in Iran are provided a unique 11-digit National ID number.
The Official Gazette provides self-reported company announcements where the National ID number for Iranian companies can be found. Information in the Official Gazette also includes:
- Company formation
- Changes in leadership, address, name, or status (active or liquidated)
- Intellectual property filings including international trademarks
- Relevant decrees/legislation
Sayari Graph houses records from Iran’s Official Gazette, where they are searchable in both English and Persian. Click here to learn more about Iranian company structures.
3. Check for signs of recent business activity:
In addition to Iran’s Official Gazette, you can identify recent business activity of an Iranian company by using a combination of official and unofficial sources found in the open source.
For example, public joint stock companies and select subsidiaries are legally required to publish quarterly financial statements and business updates on the Securities and Exchange Organization of Iran’s official database (CODAL). The record filings from CODAL, which include interest payments, capital changes, and balance sheets, may provide information on more recent business activity than what is available in Iran’s Official Gazette.
Finally, the news or announcements section of a company website may show recent business activity. For example, a company may post press releases when MOUs are signed, new factories are built, or when company representatives attend conferences, exhibitions, or meet with government officials in Iran and elsewhere.