U.S. Strikes as Tehran Delays Inspection Decision: Iran Snapshot

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Here is a snapshot of what’s happening in Iran, the status of nuclear talks and energy markets.

Latest Developments

The U.S. launched air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria on Sunday evening, which may complicate negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

The Pentagon said the strikes, which hit operational and weapons storage facilities, were a response to attacks on U.S. interests and were a “necessary, appropriate and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation.”

There was no immediate reaction from Iran’s government or from President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, who comes to power in August.

Iran, the U.S., the European Union and others have been locked in weeks of talks in Vienna to try to revive the 2015 accord, which Washington withdrew from in 2018. A new deal would see Iran’s atomic activities curbed in return for U.S. sanctions relief. It’s unclear when the next -- and seventh -- round of talks will begin.

Tehran missed a deadline last week to renew a temporary atomic-monitoring pact with international inspectors. The foreign ministry said on Monday it was still deciding whether to extend the agreement. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that if it doesn’t, there will be an information “black hole” about Iran’s nuclear operations.

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Oil

Oil was steady in early trading on Monday, with Brent crude at $76.10 a barrel, as traders mostly shrugged off the U.S. strikes.

The OPEC+ cartel, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, meets on Thursday and may decide to increase output beyond July. Oil is up around 50% this year, with demand rising as major economies reopen and OPEC+ restricting supplies.

Still, the uncertainty over the Iran talks and whether the U.S. will lift sanctions on Tehran is complicating OPEC+’s calculations.

Iran’s exports have plunged from 2 million barrels a day to barely anything since then-President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear pact in 2018 and tightened sanctions. Iran is exempt from OPEC+ quotas because of those U.S. penalties.

Agenda

June 28: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is expected to meet with judicial officials and may speak afterward.

July 1: OPEC+ holds its next full meeting. Iran’s position may be a key talking point, as it will complicate the group’s decision over whether or not to raise output beyond July.

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