The Middle East "Black Swan" is coming? Iran nuclear talks may be postponed to September

by Commodities July. 20,2023
The Middle East

With the new Iranian President Lacey taking office, Iran has expressed its readiness to resume nuclear negotiations with world powers in Vienna, including indirect negotiations with the United States.


Prior to this, the sixth round of talks ended on June 20, and there is speculation that the seventh round of talks will be held in mid-August. But this is only achieved under the most ideal circumstances. EU officials familiar with the negotiations believe that the negotiations may not resume until September.


The Biden administration previously stated that bringing Iran back to the negotiating table is "a priority." The negotiations have always been held in a hotel in Vienna. Before the hardliner Lacey came to power, Iran had been postponing negotiations, which was criticized by France and Germany.


The new Iranian government is preparing to restart nuclear negotiations in Vienna, which were put on hold before the inauguration of the Iranian president, causing dissatisfaction among some European leaders. After that, both sides accused the other of delaying time.


It is unclear who the Iranian side will send to chair the talks.


EU negotiator Enrique Mora attended the swearing-in ceremony of Iran’s new president last Thursday and talked with Iran’s nuclear negotiator Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who is also Iran’s former deputy foreign minister in charge of Arab and African affairs.


An EU official said that Amir-Abdollahian should be the new foreign minister in the Lacey cabinet, but it has not been officially announced.


Iran’s consistent position in the negotiations is that the United States must immediately abandon the Trump-era sanctions and return to the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA). Only in this way will Iran reduce its uranium enrichment capacity.


At the same time, the "tanker war" between Israel and Iran seems to have broken out again. Iran allegedly attacked the Israeli Mercer Street tanker near Oman in late July and hijacked the Asphalt Princess briefly in Gulf waters last week. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken is currently holding Iran accountable, and Brinken said he would make a "collective response" to the drone attack on Mercer Street.


Some analysts believe that the oil tanker "Mercer Street" is like a potential "powder barrel", and the attack is the "fuse", which not only detonated this "barrel", will also disrupt the situation in the Middle East. The chaotic and turbulent situation will help the United States use the issue to exert pressure on Iran.


First, if Iran is unable to prove its innocence, the United States may use this to draw in more allies to put pressure on Iran. By then, Iran's situation will be even more difficult. Secondly, Israel has always been at odds with Iran. If Israel insists on putting the accounts on Iran, incidents similar to the attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and the bombing of Iranian freighters will be staged again.


On Tuesday afternoon, according to the local Iranian TV station, a fire broke out in Iran’s Haag Petrochemical Plant. International oil prices rose short-term after hearing the news.


The analysis pointed out that the longer the delay in the Vienna negotiations, the more likely a devastating event or direct conflict between Iran and Israel (or Western allies) will occur, which may eventually lead to a permanent interruption of the negotiations.