British businesses including Rolls-Royce, Vodafone and British Airways could be forced to pull out of Iran or scrap any lucrative deals with Tehran after Donald Trump tore up the nuclear deal last night.
UK companies have been fighting for £450billion [$600bn] of business since crippling economic sanctions were lifted after the 2015 agreement between the Persian state and the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and Germany.
Since then Vodafone did a deal to improve broadband and mobile internet in Iran, Rolls-Royce agreed to produce jet engines for Iran Air and British Airways re-started its flights to Tehran.
BP has operated a joint gas field in the North Sea with Iran’s state oil company since the 1970s, although it is set to sell its stake to British company Serica Energy for £300million later this year.
Other British businesses are building hospitals, roads and other infrastructure including the world’s largest solar energy farm in Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s country.
Last night President Trump promised ‘powerful’ sanctions and experts have told MailOnline UK businesses could be fined and forced to choose between working in Iran and the US.
Today Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said he doesn’t ‘trust the UK’ and that Trump will die and his body ‘will be food for worms but the Islamic Republic will continue to stand’.
UK companies have been fighting for £450billion of business in Iran (pictured) since crippling economic sanctions were lifted two years ago but many deals may now be in tatters
Donald Trump last night tore up the Iran nuclear deal, which could force Britain’s biggest businesses out of the country
Trump blasted the Iran deal as a ‘horrible’ agreement as he announced the reinstatement of sanctions
It is not clear yet how any British firms would be punished but in a clue about what is to come Richard Grenell, Trump’s new ambassador in Berlin and a known ally of the President, said last night: ‘German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately’.
Boris Johnson is fighting to save the nuclear deal but British business has poured money into Iran since sanctions were relaxed in 2015.
World’s ‘economic policeman’ Donald Trump could force UK businesses to choose between Iran and US
UK companies operating in Iran could be forced to choose between working in Tehran or the US, experts said today.
Donald Trump will also have the power to levy huge fines and pressure banks to accept cash out of Iran after bringing back sanctions.
Details of how UK businesses will have to change will emerge in the coming days but Richard Grenell, Trump’s new ambassador in Berlin said last night: ‘German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately’.
Alexandra Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy at Institute of Directors, told MailOnline businesses are right to be ‘very worried’ about the consequences.
She said: ‘The message sent by the new US ambassador to Germany is very worrying given that there were a number of companies already operating in Iran
‘To issue an ultimatum that non-US companies should divest completely from the country sets a seriously concerning.
No business wants to pull out of a multi-million pound investment altogether, but the US Government has a record of robust enforcement –particularly with banks to date.
‘Most of them have American branches and so are at risk of being forced to choose between offloading their operations in the US or Iran’.
She added: ‘It may be that discussions between Washington, Brussels and European capitals in the coming days provide further clarity about whether there will be any waivers or exemptions for individual firms’.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told French radio that Trump’s decision on Iran was a mistake and that the United States should not consider itself as the world’s ‘economic policeman’.
Former WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell called Iran ‘one of the last great untapped opportunities for global business’.
The Rhum North Sea gas field has been co-owned by BP and Iran’s state oil company since the 1970s.
It started producing gas in 2005, but this was suspended in 2010 due to sanctions.
With the support of the UK government, an agreement was put in place that allowed production to resume in 2014 while still complying with sanctions.
In 2016 the US Treasury renewed the licence to keep operating their joint gas field in the North Sea, and this was again renewed last year.
BP was also reported to have bought crude from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
It is about to sell Rhum in a £300million deal with Serica Energy, who will also pay for two other gas fields.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018 and sent Serica’s shares tumbling today.
A Serica spokesman said: ‘The Company is evaluating the implications of these statements and how they relate to the Rhum field in which the Iranian Oil Company (UK) is a 50 per cent partner. We will update the market, as appropriate, in due course.’
In December 2016 Rolls-Royce welcomed a $19billion deal between Airbus and Iran Air for the supply of 100 aircraft, which they make the jet engines for, including 16 Airbus A350s.
Britain’s Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile phone company, did a deal with HiWEB in Iran to improve its broadband and mobile network infrastructure.
With a young population and high levels of mobile ownership, Iran is seen as an opportunity for telecoms companies seeking to expand into frontier markets.
Two years ago British Airways relaunched direct flights to Iran following the lifting of sanctions.
The carrier operates six flights per week between London Heathrow and Tehran, which was suspended in October 2012.
A spokesman said today: ‘We constantly review our network to ensure that our routes match our customers’ needs and are commercially viable. We are in regular contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.’
British businesses have also tapped into Iran’s medical, energy and engineering sectors.
International Hospital Group (IHG), a leading international healthcare services company based in Britain, signed an agreement worth £1.8 billion ($2.1 billion) with Iran to finance the construction of a network of cancer centres in the country.
A London-based investment fund agreed a deal to build one of the world’s largest solar power projects in Iran by 2020.
The deal between Quercus and Iran’s Ministry of Energy is worth over £440million.
Rolls-Royce is helping to make engines for Iran Air for the supply of 100 Airbus aircraft
BP has operated the joint Ruhm gas field in the North Sea (pictured is the neighbouring Bruce field ) with Iran’s state oil company since the 1970s, although it is set to sell its stake to British company Serica Energy for £300million later this year
Britain’s Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile phone company, did a deal with HiWEB in Iran to improve its broadband and mobile network infrastructure (a HiWeb advert in Tehran)
The deal between Quercus and Iran’s Ministry of Energy is worth over £440million and will see Iran’s sunny climate (pictured)
Businesses around the world face crisis over Iran sanctions
– U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Airbus and Boeing Co will lose licences to sell passenger jets to Iran.
– IranAir had ordered 200 passenger aircraft – 100 from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR. All the deals are dependent on U.S. licences because of the heavy use of American parts in commercial planes.
– Boeing said on Tuesday it will consult with the U.S. government on the ‘next steps,’ adding Boeing’s 777 production plan ‘is not dependent on the Iranian orders.’
– Airbus said it needed time to study the impact of Trump’s decision on Iran and will be evaluating next steps consistent with internal policies and in full compliance with sanctions and export control regulations.
– Airbus shares fell 1 percent on Wednesday in response.
– France’s PSA said it hoped the European Union would adopt a common position on Iran.
– French automakers PSA and Renault have pushed hard into Iran after sanctions were lifted following the 2015 international nuclear pact.
– PSA has signed production deals worth 700 million euros ($830 million) to reclaim the leading position it once enjoyed in the market, while Renault invested to increase its production capacity to 350,000 vehicles a year.
– Germany’s Daimler said it was closely monitoring any further developments and will then evaluate the potential impact on its business.
– Shares of PSA and Renault were down more than 1 percent.
– German engineering group Siemens said it would closely monitor the situation in Iran and comply with all export controls that arise.
– Siemens signed a contract in October 2016 to upgrade Iran’s railway network and also to supply components for 50 diesel-electric locomotives to Iran. Shares were up about 5 percent on a bullish results forecast on Wednesday.
OIL AND GAS
– Britain’s Serica Energy said it is looking into how renewed sanctions on Iran would affect a British gas field which it operates in partnership with the Iranian Oil Co (UK) Ltd. It is set to complete purchase of fields from BP in mid-2018.
– Serica said it was evaluating the implications of Trump’s statements on the Rhum field in Britain’s North Sea, in which the Iranian Oil Co (UK) has a 50 percent share.
– Shares of Serica Energy fell more than 7 percent in response.
– Trump’s decision could scupper French oil major Total’s multibillion-dollar gas project in Iran unless it can secure a waiver. Total signed a deal with Tehran in July 2017 to develop phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars field with an initial investment of $1 billion.
– Vodafone had deal with HiWeb, an internet and phone company and subsidiary of Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade in 2003
– South Africa’s MTN Group said the U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran may limit the South African telecoms firm’s ability to repatriate cash from MTN Irancell.
– In 2018, MTN had repatriated about 88 million euros ($104.26 million) from MTN Irancell, with another 200 million euros due.
– MTN shares fell more than 3 percent on Wednesday.
Donald Trump faced worldwide condemnation last night after he pulled the US out of the nuclear Iran deal in a move that inflamed tensions in an already volatile region.
Today Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said todat he doesn’t ‘trust the UK’ and that Trump will die and his body ‘will be food for worms but the Islamic Republic will continue to stand’
Theresa May, French president Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel said his decision had been met with ‘regret and concern’.
In a joint statement they said ‘the world was a safer place’ because of the deal and pledged to remain committed to it.
The US President said he was walking away from the 2015 pact in order to stop a ‘nuclear bomb’ being acquired by the ‘world’s leading state sponsor of terror’.
Announcing ‘powerful’ sanctions, he warned that if he did not pull out from the deal which is ‘defective at its core’ then there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
And, in a fresh warning to Iran he said if the country developed nuclear weapons it would have ‘bigger problems then it has ever had before’.
Iran’s president responded by saying that if negotiations fail over the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic will enrich uranium ‘more than before… in the next weeks’.
The announcement came despite desperate lobbying from a string of European leaders, including Prime Minister Mrs May, Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel.
After a joint phone call, the leaders said the agreement which they remained committed to was ‘important for our shared security’.
‘The world is a safer place as a result’, they said. The leaders also urged Iran ‘to show restraint in response to the decision by the US’.
They said: ‘It is with regret and concern that we, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.’
In a much anticipated statement from the White House, Mr Trump said: ‘If I allowed this deal to stand there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
‘Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.
‘We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotting structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core.’
He went on: ‘If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen.
‘In just a short period of time the world’s leading state sponsor of terror would be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.’
The deal was signed by world powers in 2015. Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in return for eased economic sanctions.
Tehran claimed at the time it had been pursuing only nuclear energy rather than weapons.
President Trump said that since the agreement ‘Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen’. He said that the deal ‘didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will’.
At PMQs today, Theresa May said she had made her position ‘clear’ to Donald Trump before he announced his decision – and pledged to keep trying to win him over to the merits of a pact
Mrs May joined French president Emmanuel Macron (left) and Angela Merkel of Germany (right) last night in voicing regret over Mr Trump’s decision on the Iran nuclear deal
The President pointed out that Iran – a regime of ‘great terror’ had boosted its military spend, supported terrorism and ’caused havoc’ throughout the Middle East and beyond.
Controversial Iran deal that Trump tears up after calling it ‘horrible’
The 2015 nuclear deal was an agreement signed between Iran, the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and Germany.
The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in return for limitations to the country’s nuclear energy programme, which many feared would be used to create a nuclear weapon.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to keep its uranium enrichment levels at no more than 3.67 per cent, down from almost 20 per cent.
The country’s uranium stockpile was also to be kept at under 300 kilograms, which Mr Obama said would see a reduction of 98 per cent.
Tehran also agreed to redesign a heavy-water nuclear facility it had been building that was capable of producing plutonium suitable for a nuclear bomb.
The reactor would no longer produce any weapons-grade plutonium and no additional heavy-water reactors were to be built for 15 years.
In order to ensure Iran stuck to the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency was granted greater access and information regarding the country’s nuclear programme.
The agency was also given powers to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of covert facilities as well as having access to the supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear programme.
Measures were put in place to ensure the ‘break-out time’ – the amount of time it would take Iran to create a nuclear bomb – was slowed dramatically, while its government agreed not to engage in activities, including research and development, that it would need to make one.
In return, the lifting of sanctions meant Iran stood to gain access to more than $100bn in assets frozen overseas.
It was also able to resume selling oil on international markets and use the global financial system for trade.
But if the country was to violate any part of the deal, it was agreed that UN sanctions would ‘snap back’ into place for 10 years, with the possibility of a five-year extension.
He said he had talked to France, Germany, the UK and friends across the Middle East and said they were ‘unified’ in their conviction Iran must never deliver nuclear weapons.
He went on: ‘America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.
‘The US no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises I keep them.’ He said he would be open to a new deal in the future.
In a statement immediately afterwards, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said there was a ‘short time’ to negotiate with the countries remaining in the nuclear deal.
He warned his country could start enriching uranium more than ever in the coming weeks.
Mr Rouhani spoke live on Iranian state television. He said he would send Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to countries remaining in the accord.
He said: ‘I have ordered Iran’s atomic organisation that whenever it is needed, we will start enriching uranium more than before.’
He said Iran would start this ‘in the next weeks’.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply concerned by the US decision to withdraw from the deal.
The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the EU wanted to preserve the deal.
She said: ‘The European Union is determined to preserve it [the deal].
‘Together with the rest of the international community, we will preserve this nuclear deal.’
‘The nuclear deal with Iran is crucial for the security of the region, of Europe and of the entire world.’
Mr Macron tweeted: ‘The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.’
Tensions were already heightened in the region after Mr Netanyahu announced that Israeli spies had stolen thousands of files on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Israel has also struck Iranian forces in Syria several times in recent weeks.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had travelled to Washington on Saturday where he made a last-ditch bid to prevent the US pullout.
Mr Johnson said Mr Trump would be in line for the Nobel Peace Prize if he can sort out the Iran nuclear deal.
Earlier in the day the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said Iran would not be ‘passive’ if President Trump left the nuclear deal.
He said: ‘It will not be in the American’s interests if the JCPOA (Iran’s nuclear deal) collapses by their offensive…
‘We will not be passive if the United States starts confrontation with Iran.’
Mr Trump has previously condemned the Iran accord signed by his predecessor Mr Obama as ‘insane’ and the ‘worst deal ever’.
Scrapping it was a commitment he made during his election campaign.
Mrs May spoke to Mr Trump on the phone over the weekend. Then Mr Johnson yesterday urged the President not to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ by walking away.
He accepted the agreement was not perfect but warned that there was not a better alternative.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would rather face a military confrontation with Iran ‘now than later’.
He said his country was prepared for a war to stop Iranian forces embedding in neighbouring Syria.
Mr Netanyahu said: ‘We are determined to block Iran’s aggression against us even if this means a struggle. Better now than later.’