A gas flame is seen through a bus window in the South Pars gas field facilities in the southern Iranian port of Assaluyeh. Photo: AFP/Behrouz Mehri

European companies have signed billions of dollars’ worth of deals with Iran since sanctions on the country were lifted after the 2015 nuclear agreement. All of that could now go up in smoke within the next several months, after President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US will leave the deal.

“The US decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement will probably have a chilling effect on investment and trade with the country, even though European leaders remain committed to the accord,” a Bloomberg Intelligence note wrote on Wednesday. “Assuming a new deal isn’t reached, Total will probably end up abandoning its South Pars gas project, and oil exports from Iran to Europe will likely be curtailed.”

France’s Total will be one of those affected, after already investing US$90 million in the South Pars gas field project. Total’s partner in the project, National Iranian Oil Company, has reportedly indicated that a third partner, China National Petroleum Corporation, may take a controlling stake in the planned US$5 billion investment. It is unclear, however, whether CNPC would risk keeping a stake in the project at all once the sanctions are reinstated.

The US Treasury Department said it would reinstate sanctions on oil and banking sector business activity with Iran after 90 days and 180 days respectively.

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