Renault signs deal for venture in Iran as its economy opens

Renault has reached a deal with Iran's government to open a plant making at least 150,000 vehicles a year, as European companies race for a share of Iran's market now that international sanctions have been lifted.

The French carmaker announced the deal with the Industrial Development & Renovation Organization of Iran on Friday, during the Paris auto show.

The plant will produce Duster and Symbol cars starting in 2018. Renault will be majority shareholder, and have its own distribution network in Iran for the first time, according to a company statement.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said Iran could have demand for 2 million cars in 2020, a market that "has undeniable potential."

The deal is in addition to a joint venture between Renault and Iran signed earlier this year.