A U.S. pullout could have major market impacts because U.S. sanctions can be applied to entities that do business with Iran. That effectively establishes a chilling prospect: Re-engage with Iran and you’ll be frozen out of the U.S. market.
“The real problem here is the only people that have sanctions worth being worried about are the United States,” said Richard Nephew, who served as lead sanctions expert on the team that negotiated the deal.
Even if European leaders sought to protect their multinational corporations, these businesses primarily react to market forces and risks, said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of risk consultancy the Eurasia Group.
“There, I think the Iranians are on much weaker ground. It’s a promising small emerging market compared to the world’s largest market. You choose,” he said.
Renewed sanctions on Iran’s energy sector could cut off its oil supplies, potentially boosting oil prices. That would bolster earnings for oil companies, but raise energy costs for consumers and businesses.
European oil majors seeking to jointly develop Iran’s oil and natural gas fields, such as France’s Total, might also retrench. Boeing, which is allowed to sell aircraft to Iran under the deal, would potentially drop plans to deliver planes to the national air carrier.