But Schwab said it would be too early for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, to start negotiating new investments while at the forum. First, they need to boost international trust that Iran will respect the terms of their nuclear deal.
"We have to create the reality which allows confidence between the different parties, and only in the next phase you can really talk about business," Schwab said of the Iranians' prospects for new oil, gas and other business deals.
Discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are also expected at the Davos forum, with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni all attending. The flagging Mideast peace process is a priority for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected in Davos for most of the event, which lasts through Saturday.
Other pressing topics that will likely be touched upon, Schwab said, include climate change, unemployment and the disparity between the rich and poor that could lead to a "lost generation" of youth and social unrest.___ Follow John Heilprin at www.twitter.com/johnheilprin