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There Would Be No Iranian Nuclear Talks If Not for Fracking

An oil tanker is seen off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, on July 2, 2012
An oil tanker is seen off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, on July 2, 2012Photograph by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Geneva on Friday to begin negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. The hope is that the West will reach a deal that eases the economic sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for some sort of freeze on its enrichment of uranium. Although Kerry was careful to temper expectations as he headed into meetings with his counterparts from Britain, France, and Germany, there is sudden optimism that a deal is in the offing.

Lost in some of the forecasting over what an agreement may eventually entail is the simple fact that none of this would be possible without the U.S. oil boom. Over the last two years, the U.S. has increased its crude production by about 2 million barrels a day. That’s like swallowing Norway, the fourteenth largest oil producer in the world. This new U.S. crude supply has allowed the West to put the squeeze on Iran without disrupting the global market or jacking up the price.