Iran oil minister, Javad Owji said Wednesday that oil exports this year “had impressive growth” compared with last year, despite US sanctions.
Owji was speaking after a joint meeting in parliament between President Ebrahim Raisi, his ministers and lawmakers Wednesday morning. He did not provide any details about the growth in oil exports, as all sales and shipments are conducted in secret for fear of US retaliation against buyers.
Iran’s oil exports dropped from more than 2 million barrels per day in 2016-2017 to less than 200,000 in 2019, after the United States imposed third-party sanctions following its withdrawal from the Obama-era nuclear agreement, the JCPOA.
However, illicit oil exports said to be going mainly to China have increased since September 2020 and provide Iran with an undisclosed amount of revenue. The nature of the illicit trade certainly reduces the amount of foreign currencies Iran can receive. Middlemen who facilitate such shipments make hefty profits and Iran must charge much less than global oil prices to entice buyers.
The Biden Administration, which is indirectly negotiating with Iran to return to the JCPOA, has been criticized for not diligently enforcing the Trump-era sanctions, allowing China to import Iranian oil disguised as originating from other countries.