As expected, the 18 June Iranian presidential elections saw Ebrahim Raisi emerge as the Islamic Republic’s next president. In his first news conference, Mr Raisi assured the public that his election will not derail talks held in Vienna between Iran and world powers to re-instate the JCPOA nuclear agreement and enable the lifting of sanctions imposed on its energy industry and oil exports. Yet as a hardliner he also showcased his reservations over the talks, reminding Iranians of “broken promises” by the US. In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear accords and ramped up sanctions.

Iranian officials are hopeful of a near-term deal that would enable a rapid hike in oil production and exports. In May, outgoing Vice President Eshaq Jahanigiri said “we can increase oil exports to 2.5mn b/d after the sanctions are lifted,” bringing Iran close to its pre-sanctions peak of 2.8mn b/d (MEES, 7 May). However, while a deal does appear on the cards, observers generally view it as unlikely that substantial export gains will be realized before Q4 this year. (CONTINUED - 1075 WORDS)