• The 5 Biggest Winners Of Obama’s Big Nuke Deal — Aside From Iran

    Critics of the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, announced Tuesday, say that lifted sanctions will open dangerous new sources of funding for Iran’s government.

    But the Iranian government won’t be alone in benefiting from the newly released funds — at least $150 billion — which were previously quarantined by international sanctions. Here are some of the other nasty actors who will be strengthened by the influx of cash to Iran.

    1. Russia

    Among the six international powers that negotiated this week’s agreement with Iran, Russia was Iran’s staunchest ally. For years, President Vladimir Putin has enjoyed friendly relations with Iran as a relatively exclusive partner for trade and defense. The two countries share a tough rhetorical stance against Islamic State, are aggressive energy exporters, and are resistant to what they see as hostility from the United States. (RELATED: How Obama Paved The Way To Russian Missiles In Iran)

    As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Russia was always the gatekeeper to a final western deal with Iran. And with Iran newly open to certain world markets, Russia will be uniquely positioned to gain from the influx of Western investment in the country.

    2. Syria

    President Bashar Assad sent a congratulatory telegram to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hours after the deal was announced on Tuesday. Iran has poured billions of dollars into propping up Assad’s government, which continues to torture and kill civilians in attempts to outlast the increasingly radicalized opposition.

    Recent reports claimed that four years into the Syrian civil war, Iran’s support for Assad was flagging. The injection of previously withheld Iranian assets back into the economy may lead to a reinvigorated Iranian push in support of Assad. Which leads to the next big winner…

    3. Hezbollah

    The Iranian-backed Lebanese militia has continued to exert force across Lebanon’s border with Syria. Hezbollah — which also controls seats in the Lebanese parliament continues to attempt attacks on Israeli territory — has openly participated in the Syrian civil war on the side of Assad’s government. (RELATED: Iraq’s Anti-ISIS Campaign’s Name Is Also A Hezbollah Slogan)

    And Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s covert general who enjoys a larger-than-life reputation in the Western media, has been linked to other Iranian proxies in Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. With fewer restrictions on Iranian officials’ travel, Soleimani and less high-profile security agents will likely attempt to increase Iran’s profile in the region.

    4. Hamas

    Though it has faced threats by ISIS’ upstart jihadi brand, Hamas is still the predominant force in the Palestinian terrorist cause. It has also received direct and indirect Iranian support over the years. As the Hamas-run Gaza Strip stagnates under Israeli embargoes and blockades, and its rivalry with the Palestine Liberation Organization is the worst it’s been in years, Hamas may find itself continuing to turn to Iran for support.

    5. European energy companies

    Wait, what? As some restrictions on trade and investment in Iran are lifted, German and French firms are seeking to return some of their business to the long-isolated country. Iran’s sizable oil reserves will requires significant outside help to reach their full potential, and plenty of companies will race to profit from the sudden market gap.

    Iran is reportedly looking for energy-sector investment from East Asia as well. With American companies slower to jump into the fray, a fresh Iranian business environment may give European firms an edge in the global oil market.

    Follow Ivan Plis on Twitter


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