U.S. Blocks Iran Websites as Oil’s Rise Continues: Iran Snapshot

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

Latest Developments

The U.S. has blocked three dozen Iranian websites, according to the Justice Department, in a move that may inflame tensions between the countries and hinder progress in nuclear negotiations. The U.S. said the move was a response to Tehran’s “brazen attempts” to spread disinformation and mislead American voters.

Iran earlier raised the possibility that talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which limited the Islamic Republic’s atomic activities in return for U.S. sanctions relief, could extend beyond August, when President Hassan Rouhani is set to be replaced by a hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi.

Diplomats from Iran, the U.S., the European Union and other powers ended their latest round of negotiations in Vienna on Sunday and haven’t said when they’ll reconvene.

Latest coverage

Oil

Oil climbed in Asian trading after an industry report showed another decline in U.S. crude stockpiles, adding to a bullish outlook. Futures in New York traded near $73 a barrel, while Brent rose above $75.

The OPEC+ cartel is scheduled to meet next week to discuss its production policy and some nations, most notably Russia, may push for an output increase. A rise in crude flows from Iran is set to be delayed as nuclear talks drag on. Still, the uncertainty is complicating OPEC+’s calculations.

Iran’s exports have plunged from 2 million barrels a day in 2018 to barely anything after former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 accord and tightened sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Iran is exempt from OPEC+ quotas.

Agenda

June 24: A temporary monitoring pact with inspectors from the IAEA expires, something which could complicate efforts to seal the nuclear deal. Iran and the IAEA are in talks about an extension.

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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