The renewed talks between Iran and Western countries to restore the landmark 2015 nuclear deal have again stalled, however, a diplomat participating in the talks said it was “on concrete way”.
Russian envoy to talks on the nuclear pact, Mikhail Ulyanov, wrote on Twitter that he had met US special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, twice on Wednesday.
“We maintain intensive and, I believe, useful dialogue in the course of the #ViennaTalks on concrete way and means of restoration of the JCPOA,” Ulyanov said.
Tehran has been insisting that the main goal of the negotiations must be removal of the oil sanctions by the US while Washington wants Iran's new president to return to the nuclear deal after a suitable interval.
Iran and six other powers have been in talks since April to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was terminated three years ago by former US President Donald Trump. The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran that have severely hampered its economy by drastically reducing its oil exports.
Although a slew of sanctions aimed at Iran's energy industry was lifted on June 10, sanctions on the country’s oil exports are still in place.
Iran and the US resumed indirect talks on November 27 to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, with Tehran focusing on lifting sanctions.
- Lifting of sanctions expected to add 1.5 million bpd of oil
Iran has already been exporting over 1 million barrels per day of crude and refined products for much of 2021, while any lifting of sanctions is expected to quickly add 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, including condensates, according to London-based Quantum Commodity Intelligence.
“If a deal cannot be reached during the first quarter of 2022, some analysts believe that US sanctions will be ratcheted up, including pressure on China, the primary buyer of Iranian oil,” Quantum said.
Any potential lifting of sanctions will also have to be factored in by the 23-member OPEC+ producer group, which is scheduled for its next meeting on 4 January, it said.
By Sibel Morrow