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  • Rikki Lambert

Oil could be the bargaining chip on Iran nuclear deal

Iran has publicly indicated it "will not wait forever" to strike a deal to revive a 2015 pact to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, Tehran's foreign ministry said on Tuesday - but could a global pivot from Russian oil break the deadlock?

A nuclear deal is at hand if Washington makes up its mind, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh says. "Iran is willing but will not wait forever," Khatibzadeh wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.


Efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal could succeed if the United States took a political decision to meet Tehran's remaining demands, he said. 

The stakes are high, since the failure of 10 months of talks could carry the risk of a fresh regional war, of more harsh sanctions on Iran by the West and of continued upward pressure on world oil prices already strained by the Ukraine conflict.

Rabobank Australia's senior agricultural analyst Wes LeFroy told Flow listeners on Thursday that more Iranian oil could soon be flowing to a world starved of Russian oil:

"Joe Biden in his State of the Union Address announced the release of strategic reserves for the global market - we're expecting crude oil will increase to $118 USD per barrel in the 2nd quarter ...
"The one thing to watch though on the crude oil side is what's happening with Iran. We have heard some rumblings there are some negotiation sbetween the US and Iran that could bring more oil to the global market. If that eventuates, we might see a small amount of relief for global oil prices."

Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted on Thursday:

All parties involved in the Iran nuclear talks say progress has been made toward the restoration of the pact - which the United States abandoned in 2018 during the Trump administration's term in office - to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. 

But there remain some significant differences to overcome.

Hear Thursday's full interview about farmers' fuel, fertiliser and spray input costs with Rabobank's Wes LeFroy on Flow's podcast:

"Reaching a good deal is possible," Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference while saying Western powers had failed to take "political decisions" on the outstanding issues.

France's foreign ministry said on Monday it was urgent to conclude the talks this week.

Iran's lead nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, who flew to Tehran last week for consultations about the final draft of the deal, met the European Union's Enrique Mora, who co-ordinates the talks in Vienna, on Monday.

Two sources close to the talks said Iran had submitted new demands, while continuing to insist on existing ones, including the removal of a US foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) designation against Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

"Iran's stance after Bagheri's trip to Tehran has become even more uncompromising," said one of the sources. 

"They now insist on removal of sanctions on the IRGC and want to open issues that had already been agreed."

Tehran also insists the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) drop its claims about Tehran's nuclear work, objecting to last year's assertion by the nuclear watchdog that Tehran had failed to fully explain uranium traces at undeclared sites.

Diplomats said the negotiations have entered a crucial stage, given Iran's uncompromising policy in the talks and the other parties' involvement in the crisis over Ukraine.


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