Josep Borrell, EU chief of international affairs and security policy told Doha Forum attendees that Iran and its allies are near to agreement on the terms of relaunching the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.
“We are close to an agreement, and I’m hopeful that it will become a reality.,” he said, suggesting to reporters that it could be “In a matter hours” before the parties agreed to reanimate the deal. A recent hiccup in the negotiations regarding Russia’s ability to continue its existing trade relationship with Iran despite the sanctions imposed in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine has been resolved despite western concerns Moscow was deliberately holding up the deal.
Borrell’s statement at Doha came shortly after a surprise appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who echoed the US’s oft-repeated plea to oil-producing nations to increase production so that Russia cannot “Blackmail” other countries by refusing to sell them fuel. Washington has tried to block Moscow selling fuel. It has called for an end to all Russian oil and gas exports to the US. The Russian government has not stopped selling oil and gas to Europe. However, Washington warned that the US would be hurt if it tried to impose an embargo on Russia.
Former president Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal shortly after taking office and Washington showed little interest in reviving it until Russia’s recognition of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbas and subsequent invasion of Ukraine triggered the spike in oil and gas prices.
Although the US attempted convincing major oil-producing states like Saudi Arabia, to raise their output, it was largely ignored. The White House sought help from nations that were once enemies of the US, such as Venezuela and, potentially, Iran. The Houthis have been heavily attacking Saudi oil production facilities and refineries in the last weeks. They are currently hampered by a Saudi-led coalition blockade that stops critical supplies of food and medicine from reaching them.
The JCPOA nuclear treaty put firm limits on the development of Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions that have hamstrung the nation’s economy for years. Although it was approved in 2015, sanctions have not been completely lifted. This has led to a lot of bad blood between the various parties who accuse each other of breaking their promises. It took nearly twelve months to negotiate the current deal.
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