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Ambassador Christopher Hill gives a diplomat’s point of view

A diplomatic milestone was reached on July 14 of this year when the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members, plus Germany (P5+1), reached a nuclear deal with Iran. With the deal comes the removal of sanctions that have been in place against Iran for its nuclear program, which included sanctions against the country’s crude oil.

The deal has sparked heated debate about whether or not the world will be a better place by allowing Iran to re-enter the global community. Iran’s nuclear program has been a source of anxiety in the global community, and critics of the deal say they do not believe Iran will conform to international nuclear standards. The subject has been so divisive that major Democratic players like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the most influential Jewish voice in Congress, have come out against the deal.

“Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed,” he said.  “This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”

Oil markets have also been hesitant about Iran coming back to the market as production has already outpaced global demand, and removing sanctions will mean even more production coming online from Iran. Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Zangeneh, has said that Iran hopes to reach production levels of 5 MMBOPD by 2020, adding to a market that is already 1-2 MMBOPD oversupplied.

Presenting at EnerCom’s The Oil & Gas Conference on Tuesday in Denver, Colorado is Christopher Hill, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, in order to give our audience his unique view on the Iran deal. Ambassador Hill was a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, with posts in the Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia and finally in Iraq from April 2009 to August 2010. Since then, Ambassador has served as the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

“My sense is that the deal is going to be approved, even if it takes a presidential veto, and then I think we’re going to have enormous challenges in implementing it,” Hill said to Oil & Gas 360 before the conference. While speaking with OAG360, one of the points Hill was most emphatic about was that challenges would be present on all sides of the deal, especially in Iran.

A successful deal will mean balance, Hill told OAG360. “Balance means compromise. When you look at Javad Zarif, who’s the Iranian negotiator in all these nuclear talks, and you look at President Rouhani, these are people trying to seek that balance. They have opposition on all sides, so it comes down to the old question: can the center position hold?”

Ambassador Hill will give a presentation at lunch Tues. Aug. 19 to give the oil and gas industry a diplomat’s lenses through which to view the Iran deal, and what it will mean for the world moving forward. His speech will be webcast on Oil & Gas 360 after his presentation.


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