At New Year’s I disagreed with forecasts made by David Ignatius that Putin would fully invade Ukraine and that the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran would be revived. I have been proven wrong on the first matter already. As of a week or more ago, it looked like I would be about the second as well as reports had a revived deal nearly made, which I would like to see.
But now it looks like it may fall victim to the Ukraine invasion. In particular, Russia is now demanding that any deal not involve any enforcement of any economic sanctions on Russia. Apparently Iranian leaders are unhappy about this extraneous demand, and the deal may not happen. However, apparently it may not be necessary for Russia to sign for it to legally go into force. The main complication would be that Russia is where excess enriched uranium from Iran is supposed to go, so Russia could scuttle implementation, even if the deal is legally reinvigorated.
One reason Putin may wish to do this involves oil prices. Getting the deal back in place would relax sanctions on Iran and allow it to export more oil. This would ease the world price of oil. As of now, Putin would prefer to have that price as high as possible both to damage his enemies economically as well as to get as much income as he can from the oil he is able to export, given that Russia’s oil is now banned from certain markets.