TEHRAN, Iran ( Associated Press) — Iran’s president said on Monday that the country is exporting twice as much oil since he took office in August, despite heavy sanctions imposed by the US on oil exports.
Ibrahim Raisi made this claim in a live interview on state TV without elaborating on the quantity of oil being exported.
“Oil sales have doubled,” he said. “We are not worried about the sale of oil.”
Raisi’s remarks come at a time when international markets are looking for alternatives to Russian crude after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions. Iran’s crude oil, with a composition similar to that of Russian grades, competes in the oil market.
As a result of the war and supply concerns, oil prices have risen to many-year highs. Brent crude, the international benchmark, climbed to around $140 in March, raising the challenge of imposing sanctions. On Monday, Brent was trading above $105 a barrel.
The unexpected drop in oil has been a boon to Iran’s public finances. Iran says it is now selling billions of dollars more crude oil despite US sanctions.
Iran’s Central Bank released figures in early February that suggested it generated $18.6 billion in oil sales in the first half of this Persian year, compared to $8.5 billion in the same period last year, which That was according to the state-run IRAN newspaper. Most of that oil is believed to be going to China. Venezuela has also received Iranian tankers at its ports,
Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Ovzi told local media in April that the country’s oil exports had increased by 40% since Raisi took power.
Four years ago, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, including its oil fields – the lifeline of its economy. Iran’s crude exports declined and international oil companies canceled deals with Tehran, leaving its economy vulnerable.
The nuclear deal saw Tehran substantially limit enrichment of uranium in exchange for lifting economic sanctions targeting its vital oil sales.
Negotiations on restoring the spoiled deal in Vienna were almost completed in early March, but talks stalled. The negotiators in the Austrian capital have not yet reorganized. The EU coordinator for talks is expected to be in Tehran later this week in a last-ditch effort to break the impasse.
Iran has made the sanctions-hit oil industry a core issue in negotiations aimed at reaching a point where Iranian oil is easily and unhindered.