TThe US has called Iran’s response to recent efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal “unconstructive”, raising questions about whether the two countries can reach a deal that would free up more oil for world markets.
Vedant Patel, a spokesman for the department, did not elaborate on the remarks Thursday night, but added that U.S. officials were still reviewing the response Iran had submitted to the European Union. The EU has drawn up a proposal to rescue the agreement abandoned by President Donald Trump in 2018, and energy traders are watching closely for a breakthrough.
“We are studying it and will respond through the EU, but unfortunately it is not constructive,” Patel said in a statement.
Oil pared weekly losses as traders weighed both the Iran news and the possibility that Saudi Arabia could push for output cuts at the upcoming OPEC+ meeting. West Texas Intermediate rebounded to $88 a barrel, after falling nearly 11% over the previous three days.
President Joe Biden, returning to Washington after giving a speech in Pennsylvania on Thursday night, said he had been briefed on the situation but would learn more once he returned to the White House.
A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry earlier called the text “constructive.”
A previous exchange of comments on the EU’s proposal inspired optimism as Washington said Tehran had dropped “extraordinary demands”.
The aim of the talks is to reach a deal that restores restrictions on Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program in exchange for lifting US sanctions on Iran’s economy.
The talks have raised hopes in some countries that a deal could help reign in high energy prices that have fueled inflation. At the same time, the Biden administration has sent signals that it will take a hard line on Iran, even as it pursues a restored agreement that opposes Republicans and some Democrats in Congress.
—With help from Patrick Sykes and Alexis Shane
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