A revival of the Iran nuclear deal could help lower global oil prices by bringing a major producer back to market, the Irish foreign minister has said.
Simon Coveney, who is playing a big role in the bid to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, said he hoped progress could be made within days.
The deal, which eases sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran giving up its ambitions to build a nuclear weapon, has failed since US President Donald Trump pulled out in 2018.
Russia is one of the signatories to the JCPOA agreement and the invasion of Ukraine has complicated efforts to salvage the agreement due to sanctions imposed on the country of Vladimir Putin.
The JCPOA was endorsed in 2015 by Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the UK, US, France, China and Russia – and Germany.
Mr. Coveney’s involvement stems from his role as UN Security Council facilitator for the deal.
The United States, United Kingdom and European Union are looking to break away from Russian oil and gas, and Mr Coveney said: “Certainly having a big new player in the market, if you will, crude oil Iranian returning to the market with the removal of sanctions, would be a very attractive prospect in terms of reducing the pressure on oil prices, due to the sanctions against Russia, which I think should last for some time.
He said: “I think that’s an added incentive to try and get a deal done now.”
After Joe Biden was elected president, efforts intensified to salvage the deal, with 11 months of on-and-off talks in Vienna appearing to be on the verge of a breakthrough.
Mr Coveney told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘What has certainly been a problem over the past 10 days or so is that the sanctions that now apply to Russia – because of their illegal war in Ukraine and the brutality we see and the potential war crimes we see on a daily basis – meant that Russia feared it could not benefit from the lifting of sanctions against Iran following the signing of an agreement.
“And that caused tensions and delays. But that seems to have been resolved in recent days.”
Mr Coveney said ‘we look like we’re almost there’ and ‘that’s good news when the world needs it’.