President Ebrahim Raisi’s top economic official says Iran has been “smuggling oil and bringing the dollars back secretly” because of “illegal” US sanctions.
Mohsen Rezaei, First Vice President for economic affairs, told a gathering during a provincial visit that Iran accepted all condition during nuclear talks with world powers and agreed to the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), but “The next US government violated it and put us under economic siege.”
After former president Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and imposed sanctions, Iran’s oil exports dramatically fell and then increased somewhat a year ago coinciding with the election of Joe Biden as President.
Iran exports most of what it sells now to China, although official Chinese data do not reflect any Iranian oil imports. No one knows how much oil Iran smuggles, but estimates put the number at around $10 for the past 12 months.
Although Rezaei says Iran repatriates the proceeds in cash dollars, the oil is sold at a discount and through middlemen who make a lot profit.