Analyst Sees No Realistic Prospect of Iran Nuclear Deal Being Restored



The Head of Geopolitics at Energy Aspects, Richard Bronze, has told Rigzone that he doesn’t see any realistic prospect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) being restored after the failed negotiations over 2021-22.

“In recent months, there have been indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran to explore a much more limited agreement that would place a cap on aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, particularly enrichment of uranium to above 20 percent purity, in exchange for a modest easing of U.S. sanctions,” Bronze said.

“There is no firm timeline for these diplomatic efforts, but if there is a willingness on both sides to compromise it might be possible to conclude a deal in the next few months,” he added.

“One topic that is reportedly being negotiated is an exchange of foreign-national prisoners, so any announcements of that type might be an indicator that the talks are advancing,” he continued.

Bronze also highlighted that, “importantly for oil markets”, he does not expect the U.S. to agree to any “significant easing of oil sanctions as part of a limited deal of the sort that now seems to be under discussion”.

“However, in recent months Iran has managed to significantly increase both oil production and exports despite U.S. secondary sanctions remaining in force, with most of the additional volumes being smuggled to China,” he said.

Emily Hawthorne, a Senior Middle East and North Africa Analyst at RANE, told Rigzone that, right now, the more likely scenario than a new nuclear deal is a continuation of talks between the U.S. and Iran “that helps keep tensions at manageable levels and reduces the risk of a major escalation, even while Iran steadily advances its nuclear program”.

“A deal is possible but not likely at this point,” Hawthorne said, adding that, “if Iran and the West ever do agree to broker a new nuclear deal, which at this point in the current phase of tension between Iran and the U.S. could only be an interim, limited agreement, it would take the United States making significant concessions on key issues like granting financial relief and allowing Iran to hold onto some advanced uranium enrichment equipment”.

“Because these concessions would be politically controversial, they are only likely to be extended under a democratic U.S. administration,” Hawthorne told Rigzone.

Iran Production

Iran produced 3.822 million barrels of oil per day in 2022, according to the Energy Institute’s (EI) 2023 statistical review of world energy.

This figure marked a 4.6 percent year on year increase and 4.1 percent of the total share of world oil production in 2022, the report showed. The country’s oil production stood at 3.653 million barrels per day in 2021, 3.120 million barrels per day in 2020, 3.407 million barrels per day in 2019, 4.620 million barrels per day in 2018, 4.854 million barrels per day in 2017, 4.578 million barrels per day in 2016, 3.853 million barrels per day in 2015, 3.714 million barrels per day in 2014, 3.609 million barrels per day in 2013, and 3.810 million barrels per day in 2012, according to the review.

The EI review’s oil production statistics include crude oil, shale oil, oil sands, condensates (lease condensate or gas condensates that require further refining), and NGLs (natural gas liquids – ethane, LPG and naphtha separated from the production of natural gas).

A White House fact sheet published on May 8, 2018, revealed that then U.S. President Donald J. Trump was terminating the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.

“The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said in the fact sheet at the time.

According to OPEC’s website, Iran, which is a founding member of the organization, produced 2.392 million barrels of crude oil per day in 2021.

During that year, Iran’s crude oil exports reached 763,000 barrels per day, the value of the country’s petroleum exports came in at $25.313 billion, and its oil demand was 1.777 million barrels per day, OPEC’s website showed.

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