Companies Face A Tough Choice After Trump Pulls Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement puts the U.S. at odds with some of its closest allies. Companies rushed to do business in Iran when the agreement took effect.
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Companies Face A Tough Choice After Trump Pulls Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal

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Companies Face A Tough Choice After Trump Pulls Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Companies Face A Tough Choice After Trump Pulls Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. So President Trump's decision to take the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal put the U.S. at odds with some close allies in Europe and Asia, and it gives companies like Samsung and Renault a difficult choice. They do business with Iran but now face potential sanctions if they don't stop. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: President Trump may have abandoned the Iran nuclear deal, but European officials have made clear they see the agreement as very much alive. Here is EU external affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

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FEDERICA MOGHERINI: The European Union will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal.

ZARROLI: But Trump's decision leaves other countries in a difficult spot. Before the agreement was signed in 2015, the U.S. imposed secondary sanctions against overseas companies. If they did business in Iran, they couldn't do business in the U.S. Dan Newcomb is a New York attorney who specializes in sanctions law.

ZARROLI: In broad strokes, what secondary sanctions say is, Iran or the U.S., which one do you want?

ZARROLI: After the 2015 nuclear agreement, those secondary sanctions came to an end, and companies like Airbus and Siemens rushed to do business in Iran. Now, the U.S. has walked away from the agreement. In theory, those companies could stay in Iran, but if they do, national security adviser John Bolton told CNN this weekend they could face the wrath of the U.S.

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JOHN BOLTON: I think the Europeans will see that it's in their interest ultimately to come along with us.

ZARROLI: And because the U.S. is such an important part of the global economy, few big companies will want to get on its bad side. Nader Habibi is professor of Economics of the Middle East at Brandeis University.

NADER HABIBI: The European economies and Asian economies have a lot more trade with the United States. So ultimately, they cannot completely ignore U.S. demands.

ZARROLI: Take the European company Airbus. It's under contract to sell a hundred aircraft to Iran Air. But Dan Newcomb says going ahead with the sale now would present the company with an impossible choice. A portion of the parts it uses to make the planes it sells are made in the United States.

DAN NEWCOMB: They would have to strip out all the U.S. components in their airplanes. I don't know whether that's technically possible, but I think it would be very, very difficult.

ZARROLI: But whether things would actually go that far is another question. As a lawyer, Newcomb is hearing from a lot of his clients these days who want to know whether to walk away from Iran, and he essentially advises them to wait and see. After all, as the steel and aluminum sanctions showed, Trump has sometimes made dramatic pronouncements about policy decisions only to walk them back later on.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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