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Iran’s energy minister meets Qatar envoy as nations scramble for nuclear talks

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Talks to revive the nuclear deal are set to resume this month.

Qatar’s Ambassador to Iran Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Hajri met with Iran’s Energy Minister Ali-Akbar Mehrrabian on Tuesday, as world leaders scrambled to push for the revival of the nuclear deal.

According to Qatar’s foreign ministry, the two officials discussed joint cooperation between Doha and Tehran, though no further details were released.

Qatar and Iran share the world’s biggest gas field, which the Gulf state calls the North Field and the Islamic Republic refers to as South Pars.

The field has allowed Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas [LNG], though Iran has struggled to develop its South Pars mainly due to international sanctions.

Currently, Qatar is moving towards becoming the largest LNG producer by 2030 through its $28.7 billion North Field Expansion project – the biggest such project in the world.

Iran, US trade blame on intentions to return to nuclear deal

Iran’s economy took a massive hit following former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], which also saw Washington impose crippling sanctions to apply “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

The Islamic Republic responded by decreasing its compliance with the nuclear deal and has since ramped up its nuclear activities.

A report released earlier this year by S&P Global said Iran expects to export up to 2.5 million barrels per day [b/d] of crude oil if the US lifts its sanctions with the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates that Iran’s crude and condensate exports averaged 825,000 b/d in the first quarter of this year, increasing from only 420,000 b/d in the third quarter of 2020.

Indirect nuclear negotiations between the US and Iran kicked off in April this year in Vienna in efforts to restore the nuclear deal.

The inconclusive talks paused in June following the sixth round, and ahead of the Iranian presidential elections, which saw the victory of President Ebrahim Raisi.

However, Tehran’s nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said last week that talks will resume by the end of November. This came following “preparatory” talks in Brussels between the Iranian official and EU nuclear negotiator Enrique Mora.

In Qatar, officials have been expressing the Gulf state’s support for the resumption of negotiations to restore the JCPOA while offering to mediate between the US and Iran.

“Regarding the nuclear deal, we call on all sides to return to negotiations as soon as possible and try to reach an agreement that will contribute to ensuring peace and security in our region,” said Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in a press conference in Doha on late last month alongside his Austrian counterpart Michael Linhart.


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