Iran has a trump card up its sleeve in the Russian crisis – and the EU is about to let Tehran play the game | Science | News
EU finance ministers met on Monday to discuss a fifth round of sanctions to be imposed on Russian President Vladimir Putin, this time on his energy sector. While the bloc seemed hesitant to sanction gas — 40% of its total supplies come from Russia — there was more obvious pressure to embargo Russian oil. Some countries, such as Ireland and Lithuania, have suggested that an embargo on Russia’s oil industry is badly needed to cut off Moscow’s main source of income.
But Germany argued the bloc was still too dependent on Russian oil to impose sanctions, despite the US and UK already pledging to do so.
That’s why oil giant Iran has been tipped to top the list in talks when European leaders meet at a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, Politico reports.
But the Middle Eastern nation has only promised to pump up to 3.8 million barrels of oil a day if the Iran nuclear deal is lifted.
The 2015 nuclear deal, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saw Iran agree to a long-term deal with a group of countries dubbed the P5+1 to limit its nuclear activities and allow international observers in.
This was in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
The P5+ 1 includes the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
But in May 2018, former US President Donald Trump abandoned the JCPOA and reintroduced sanctions against Iran.
Now, any new relationship between the EU and Iran seems to be based on reaching a renewed agreement so that it can become a reliable trading partner and an alternative to Putin.
This is something Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji has promised.
He said earlier this month that Iran’s oil production capacity could peak less than two months after a nuclear deal was struck.
READ MORE: Germany stops West from sabotaging Putin’s energy ties
While it was previously thought the talks were coming to an end, the tone seems to have changed in recent weeks.
On Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said “a deal is neither imminent nor certain.”
Although Mr Price acknowledged that “significant progress” had been made in Vienna in recent weeks, he did not seem convinced that relations would be regularized soon.
He said, “In fact, we are also preparing for scenarios with and without mutual return to the full implementation of the JCPOA.
“President Biden has pledged that Iran under his leadership will not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.
“And that commitment is as true and strong in a world where we have a JCPOA and where we don’t.”