There is speculation that the Vienna negotiations will conclude with a deal in the next 72 hours. Reza Zandi, an Iranian oil and gas analyst, tweeted:
I have received definitive news that within the next 72hours the nuclear deal will be signed in Vienna.Even if it might take a couple of days more or so,what appears to be certain is that the deal will be reached.#Iran‘s #oil is returning to the market under golden circumstances
— Reza Zandi (@R_Zandi) March 3, 2022
Russia’s chief negotiator in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, is sending similar signals, saying that steps are being taken to “finalise” the deal:
Yesterday marked 11 months since the #ViennaTalks started. A long and gruelling marathon. Now it is almost over.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) March 3, 2022
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) March 3, 2022
Iran, which has been given practically every concession from spineless American negotiators, is about to gain the biggest win of all: a market desperate for oil. According to Markets Insider, in response to these hints, oil prices dropped from their highest levels since 2008:
Brent crude, the international benchmark, had been up as much as 6.1% at $119.84 before reversing course. Brent lost 3.1% then pared the decline to 0.5%. West Texas Intermediate crude had been up as much as 5.3% at $116.57, then fell by nearly 4% before paring the intraday loss to 0.4%.
As war rages on after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have exceeded $100 a barrel. With Putin showing no signs of deescalation, oil prices are likely to remain high. This means that Iran is about to inherit, as Mr. Zandi puts it, “golden circumstances” for a reentry into the oil market.
With Vienna negotiations coinciding with Putin’s invasion, some have suggested a deal with Iran as a solution to impeding oil shortages. Ellen Wald from the Atlantic Council suggested that a nuclear deal could help tamp down spiking oil prices:
Of course, there are more important national security issues involved in the relationship with Iran and those must take precedence. However, if the focus is just on the problem of high oil prices, a deal with Iran would help. There has been significant progress in negotiations over the past two weeks, and Iran analysts seem positive that a deal could be reached soon. According to the latest deal under discussion, an agreement would lift sanctions in the second phase of implementation, which could be between one and three months after signing. If this moves forward, Iran potentially could put between 67 million and 87 million barrels of condensate and crude oil that it has in storage on the global market immediately. In fact, Iran is communicating with potential buyers in Korea, a sign that they believe a deal and sanctions relief is possible.
The Islamic Republic is eager to show that it can quickly supply oil. Earlier today (auspicious timing, huh?), Iranian oil minister Javad Owji said that as soon as a deal is struck in Vienna, Iran can achieve “maximum oil production capacity in less than one or two months.” The Islamic Republic currently has approximately 80 million barrels of oil in storage and could produce up to 1.2 million barrels a day. No wonder oil markets are in a frenzy.
But this deal wasn’t meant to shore up the global oil market. This deal was meant to rein in Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its destabilizing behavior (it does neither, by the way). Now, Iran isn’t just getting $8 million to $10 million in frozen oil money; it’s scoring a particularly advantageous oil market with which to fund its regional terrorist proxies.
Michael Rubin, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told National Review that the Iranian regime “has driven their economy into the ground even before sanctions.” Should sanctions be lifted, “the cash infusion really will allow them to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” This is especially true for Iran’s terroristic proxies: “A new deal and end to maximum pressure will throw a lifeline to Hezbollah.” Rubin, who visited Hezbollah’s territory in southern Lebanon last year, observed a major decline in Iran’s favorite proxy, observing that the group “was losing its members in droves as the money dried up.”
As if that wasn’t enough, the Biden administration is allegedly planning to lift all terrorism sanctions on Iran, meaning its state sponsorship of terrorism will be unfettered and internationally approved.
Khamenei, Nasrallah, and company are likely jumping for joy. And they should be: Biden’s negotiators couldn’t have crafted a weaker deal at a worse time if they’d tried.
#Iran #Proxies #Cash #Ukraine #National #Review