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Stock Markets Today: Russia sanctions, Iran talks, U.K. travel

Good morning. New U.S. sanctions against Russia, a hard-line shift in Iran and bad news for Brits’ summer plans. Here’s what’s moving markets.

Hardliner Win

Ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi won Iran’s presidential election, potentially complicating world powers’ efforts to revive a nuclear deal that could see the Islamic Republic return to global oil markets. While Raisi has previously said he would preserve the nuclear deal that outgoing President Hassan Rouhani helped seal, he has also indicated he doesn’t want to make it Iran’s central foreign policy concern. A day after Raisi was elected, diplomats adjourned their sixth round of negotiations in Vienna with significant gaps remaining to mend the six-year-old accord.

Worse Than Expected

Exit polls showed President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen fared worse than expected in the first round of France’s regional election in a disappointing twist for the two main contenders in the country’s 2022 presidential race. Turnout was at an all-time low, estimated at 32% on Sunday, with one recent survey showing many citizens didn’t even know what the elections were for. While results might not translate into national politics when voters head to the polls again next April to choose a president, they could help left-wing movements unite behind a candidate, something they’ve so far failed to do.

Devastating Consequences

The U.S. is preparing additional sanctions against Russia for the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. That comes days after President Joe Biden said he confronted Russia’s Vladimir Putin about human-rights violations and made it clear to him that Russia would face “devastating” consequences if Navalny died in prison. The Biden administration announced its first sanctions against Russia in March, targeting senior law enforcement officials in response to Navalny’s poisoning and arrest. 

Reality Check

The U.K. government signaled it will keep restrictions on overseas travel in place, with Justice Secretary Robert Buckland saying “normal” holidays were “never going to be the case” this year because of increasing Covid-19 cases. Buckland’s comments indicate increasing concern about a third wave of cases in the U.K. despite one of the world’s most aggressive vaccination programs. The remarks are a blow to airlines and a growing number of members of Parliament in the ruling Conservative Party pressing for the government to loosen restrictions.

Coming Up…

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