Botched Talks

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The European Union is worried that it may not be possible to strike an agreement to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after indirect talks between the United States and Iran ended this week with no progress. The EU has sent a delegation to Iran, but with all the hallmarks of a five-minutes-to-midnight effort, the last throw of the European dice, even a zombie policy. This effort has led to an announcement of the imminent resumption of US-Iranian talks. A last-minute deal is always possible but not inevitable. Iran hawks worried that the US and the EU are currently more inclined to capitulate than the Iranian leadership. Iran gains power as it draws closer to having a nuclear weapon. Iran’s senior brass will feel more confident the longer the crisis between Russia and Ukraine keeps gas and oil prices high. Iran has agreements with China and Venezuela to avoid sanctions. Iranian hydrocarbons are sought after by a large portion of the world. Higher oil and gas prices have been advantageous for Iran. It was exporting roughly 461,000 barrels per day in May, but in the first half of this month, that number increased to 961,000 barrels per day, with most of those barrels going to China. An agreement looks unlikely. Iran sees few advantages in returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. It is wary that a commitment from the current US administration may last just a couple of years before being shredded once again. It may just run the clock down on the deal. Iran is still hopeful that despite the failed talks in Doha, there are chances to negotiate a deal.

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