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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed that Iran has failed to provide any new answers regarding nuclear material found in Tehran, noting the continued construction work at Iran's Parchin military base, where Iran may have conducted explosives tests.
Iran has long denied U.N. inspectors access to the base and has dismissed the allegations about its nuclear program, while reports have emerged Thursday that the country’s stockpiles of highly-enriched uranium have hit new records over the past three months, amid anti-government protests.
Iran’s recalcitrant attitude in the investigation is likely to hamper negotiations between the country and six world powers on a comprehensive agreement that would see Iran curb its nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions.
It also means that Iran will not be officially returning to the oil markets any time soon.
The Biden administration has been seeking a return to mutual compliance to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran but has also said it’s “preparing for a world in which there is no return”.
"It is not our preference. Every day that goes by is a day where we come closer to the conclusion that they don't have in mind a return to the JCPOA in short order," said an official, who briefed CNN reporters by phone, referring to a lack of compliance.
Among the key demands Iran has made is that the United States and its allies allow it to export its crude oil. Iran’s former oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh is on record saying that his biggest dream has always been to increase Iran’s oil output to six million barrels per day; earn $2 trillion through oil exports over the next two decades and use the income to invest in the country’s development.
It’s doubtful that Iran can pump that much oil considering that foreign investors have mostly stayed away from Iran’s economy in the four decades since the Islamic Republic was established.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.