Iran is intending to increase its oil production levels to five million barrels per day, Bloomberg has reported – the same amount as it was seeing before a clamp down in sanctions from the Trump administration in 2018.
The managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co, Mohsen Khojastehmehr, was cited as a source for this announcement, also saying that talks are under way with Chinese companies to develop the country’s oil fields – though no further details have been given on the claim.
The news comes as the nation has restarted talks with China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK on the reestablishment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. The talks, taking place in Vienna, have resumed following a five month hiatus triggered by the election of new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.
The talks are also considering the US’s return to a 2015 agreement that removed sanctions against Iran – including in the oil sector- in return for the monitoring and restriction of Iran’s nuclear activities.
However, some diplomats and industry members have warned returning to JCPOA will not be easy given Trump’s pulling out of the deal in 2018 and his administration imposing sanctions targeting the Iranian oil industry.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: “There is no way to return to the JCPOA without verifiable and effective lifting of all sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation after the US departure.”
Indeed, the Iranian foreign ministry has demanded an “admission of culpability” from the US, as well as the immediate reversal of all US sanctions and a “guarantee” that the US will not forgo the deal again.
Tensions between the participating nations remains high however, and doubt has been cast over the efficacy of the talks. The UK and Israeli foreign ministers wrote a joint article on Sunday, in which they stressed their intention to prevent Iran from growing its nuclear power.
“Iran deserves no rewards, no bargain deals and no sanctions relief in return for their brutality,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in a video address delivered to nations negotiating in Vienna that he later posted to Twitter. “I call upon our allies around the world: Do not give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail.”