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The talks about the United States and Iran returning to the 2015 nuclear deal that would allow the Islamic Republic to legitimately export its oil have been paused "due to external factors," a top EU official said on Friday.
The suspension of the talks comes at a time when the oil market desperately needs more oil—including the Iranian barrels—after Russia's invasion of Ukraine roiled markets, rendering a large part of Russian oil now unsellable in Europe due to traders and buyers "self-sanctioning."
The Russian war in Ukraine has also complicated the final-stage talks about reviving the nuclear deal, considering the high tension between Russia and the United States and its European allies, all of which are part of those talks, although the U.S. is not directly talking to Iran.
"A pause in #ViennaTalks is needed, due to external factors. A final text is essentially ready and on the table. As coordinator, I will, with my team, continue to be in touch with all #JCPOA participants and the U.S. to overcome the current situation and to close the agreement," Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, tweeted on Friday.
A deal on Iran was reportedly "imminent" as of last week, but it is now muddled with the Russian war in Ukraine. As part of the negotiations for reviving the 2015 agreement, Moscow has reportedly made last-minute demands that the sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine do not impede its trade with Iran.
As of Thursday, both the U.S. and Iran signaled there were hard issues remaining to be solved.
Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, tweeted on Thursday:
"US approach to Iran's principled demands, coupled with its unreasonable offers and unjustified pressure to hastily reach an agreement, show that US isn't interested in a strong deal that would satisfy both parties. Absent US political decision, the talks get knottier by the hour."
In the absence of a speedy Iranian deal, the oil market could see a large deficit and spiking volatile oil prices in the short term due to Russia's struggles to sell its oil.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.