The price of doing business – how could Iran sanctions hurt US allies?

President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal has had a number of diplomatic repercussions, with key allies condemning the move. With the other five signatories pledging to stand by the deal, the rift could widen due to the host of major businesses that have invested in Iran on the back of the accord.

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In June 2016, the U.S. and its partners eased sanctions against Iran after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Tehran was abiding by its promise to freeze its uranium enrichment program.

A range of international businesses, particularly energy, aviation, and manufacturing groups, entered a new market that was eager for investment after years of isolation.

These included Germany’s Volkswagen, France’s Total oil group, and South Korea’s congolomorate Daewoo.

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Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal comes with a promise to reimpose sanctions against Tehran.

In a statement on May 8, the White House said it would seek to educate non-U.S. businesses of the need to “unwind” dealings with Iran, and the U.S. ambassador to Germany urged German businesses to pull out of Iran.

On the same day, the UK government said it was committed to expanding trade relations with Tehran, and would assist UK companies seeking to trade in Iran.

In a background briefing on May 8, senior officials from the U.S. State Department were unable, when pressed, to confirm whether the U.S. would be willing to sanction British, French, and German companies if they continued to do business with Iranian entities.

Keep this story up-to-date with the U.S. position on non-U.S. companies doing business in Iran

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Which companies have invested most heavily in Iran – what would the impact of U.S. sanctions be on other countries?

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