The U.S. launched air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria on Sunday evening, which may complicate negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. The Pentagon said the strikes, which hit operational and weapons storage facilities, were a response to attacks on U.S. interests and were a “necessary, appropriate and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation.”
There was no immediate reaction from Iran’s government or from President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, who comes to power in August. Iran, the U.S., the European Union and others have been locked in weeks of talks in Vienna to try to revive the 2015 accord, which Washington withdrew from in 2018. A new deal would see Iran’s atomic activities curbed in return for U.S. sanctions relief. It’s unclear when the next — and seventh — round of talks will begin.
Tehran missed a deadline last week to renew a temporary atomic-monitoring pact with international inspectors. The foreign ministry said on Monday it was still deciding whether to extend the agreement. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that if it doesn’t, there will be an information “black hole” about Iran’s nuclear operations.
Oil was steady in early trading on Monday, with Brent crude at $76.10 a barrel, as traders mostly shrugged off the U.S. strikes. The OPEC+ cartel, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, meets on Thursday and may decide to increase output beyond July. Oil is up around 50% this year, with demand rising as major economies reopen and OPEC+ restricting supplies.