Iran and six world powers reached an agreement on Tuesday to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic, and while U.S. and Iranian leaders have heralded the deal as a victory, the real winners could be corporations across the globe.
Iran holds the world's fourth-largest proved crude reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, so energy firms will be some of the clear beneficiaries of the deal. Most of those gains may not go to American companies, however, as they weigh the political costs of doing business with Tehran—especially considering the skepticism from Congress, according to Alireza Nader, senior international policy analyst at the Rand Corp.
"Most likely European and Asian energy companies will see an increase in business—so companies like Total and Shell," Nader said. "For American energy companies, it's going to be tougher for them to go back in Iran."