Iranian President Hassan Rouhani conceded that his government won’t secure the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in its last few weeks, saying he hoped his hardline successor will manage to finalize an agreement with the US that lifts sanctions.
At one of his last cabinet meetings before leaving office on Aug. 3, Rouhani said “the table has been set and we hope, God willing, that the 13th government can complete the work,” referring to the next administration to be led by ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi.
Diplomats told Bloomberg this week that Iran was unlikely to return to negotiations aimed at restoring the landmark nuclear accord -- which all but collapsed after then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 -- until mid-August, after Raisi enters office.
The talks are being closely watched by energy markets anticipating a surge in Iranian oil and gas exports if sanctions on the country’s sales are lifted. A dispute is preventing OPEC+ from boosting supplies as major economies emerge from pandemic lockdowns.
Rouhani appeared to blame Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament for the failure after it passed a law late last year triggering a rapid expansion in Iranian nuclear activity. He said US sanctions would’ve been lifted by March, if the bill hadn’t been introduced.
“They snatched the opportunity from the hands of the government, he said in the comments shown on state TV. “Four, five, six months of opportunities have been lost, which we sorely regret.”
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