Iran oil exports up despite US sanctions

The United States just added 39 companies to its sanctions list, many of them for enabling the shipment of clandestine oil products, much of it to China.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Iran has hit a high in oil exports since the US instated its snapback sanctions on the rogue Islamic regime five years ago, the Tasnim news agency reported Sunday.

Without quoting actual export figures, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said that from March 2022 to March 2023, Tehran had sold 83 million barrels more than the previous year, and 190 million barrels more than two years ago.

A report last week by the prestigious Lloyds’ shipping insurance company’s intelligence unit said that according to tanker-tracking data, the Islamic Republic has managed to export 2.3% more oil than in the previous year.

In real numbers, Reuters reported in January that the Iranians hit over a million barrels per day (bpd) in crude exports by the end of 2022.

According to the US Treasury Department, Iran has a huge smuggling network aided by numerous front companies, creative accounting and paperwork, and customers who have no problem evading the sanctions that then-president Donald Trump reinstated in 2018 after walking away from the “very bad” nuclear deal with Tehran three years earlier.

Read  Mossad chief: Israel fears Russia will send Iran arms ‘that will threaten our existence’

On Thursday, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against 39 entities that it said constituted “a significant shadow banking network” for Iranian companies that should not be able to trade internationally. It specifically noted two major petrochemical firms that “generate the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars annually for the Iranian regime.”

This was in addition to nine companies designated last month “for their role in the production, sale, and shipment of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum to buyers” in China.

China is known to be by far the biggest consumer of Iranian oil. It is also not averse to thumbing its nose at the United States in order to feed its vast industrial needs.

The Reuters report quoted global waterborne oil and gas tracker Vortexa’s China import figure for Iranian oil in December 2022 as “a new record of 1.2 million bpd, up 130% from a year earlier.”

According to tracking data, prior to the snapback sanctions, Iranian crude oil exports hit over 2.5 million bpd. At its lowest level, in 2020, it had managed to export only 100,000 per day.