The chances of the world powers reaching a deal with Iran on its nuclear activities that would pave the way toward the removal of the U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports “are, at best, tenuous,” Robert Malley, Special Envoy for Iran, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
“As I speak to you today, we do not have a deal with Iran and prospects for reaching one are, at best, tenuous,” Malley said in prepared testimony to the committee.
Moreover, the U.S. is even ready to tighten the sanctions against Iran if the Islamic Republic escalates its nuclear program, the envoy said.
“If Iran maintains demands that go beyond the scope of the JCPOA, we will continue to reject them, and there will be no deal. We are fully prepared to live with and confront that reality if that is Iran’s choice, ready to continue to enforce and further tighten our sanctions, albeit this time around with Europe firmly by our side, and to respond strongly to any Iranian escalation, working in concert with Israel and our regional partners,” he said.
The U.S. Administration is committed to working with its European allies to fully revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as the nuclear deal is officially known—“if Iran is willing to do so,” Malley told the Senate committee.
Earlier this year, the oil market was hoping that an Iran nuclear deal was in sight, and even “tantalizingly close,” just around the time when Russia—one of the signatories to the deal—invaded Ukraine. Amid soaring oil prices, the prospects of an Iranian deal soon were capping some of the price gains.
However, as talks continued to drag on and Iran refused to budge on several key issues, analysts started to note that a deal is getting harder to reach.
Earlier this month, Iran said it could double its oil exports if the world needed more oil, and sanctions on Iranian exports were lifted.