Iranian Oil Minister Admits Difficulty of Circumventing US Sanctions


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Iranian Oil Minister Admits Difficulty of Circumventing US Sanctions
9 June, 2019

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh

London- Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh admitted that the United States was “mature” in putting smart sanctions on Iran.

He said the new round of US sanctions imposed on the country are markedly different and effective than the previous ones, but stressed that Iran is finding ways to circumvent them and overcome the current circumstances.

In May, Washington moved to cut Iran's oil production to zero by imposing sanctions on countries buying Iranian crude.

Iran's sales declined from 2.7 million barrels per day to less than 400,000 barrels, according to the latest oil reports.

According to Zanganeh, the US has reached an “evil maturity” in tightening the noose on Iran’s economy using “smart sanctions” over the past six years.

“The most severe organized sanctions in history are currently being imposed on Iran,” he told the Iranian Parliament’s official website, ICANA.

The Americans want to block all of Iran’s moves to sidestep sanctions, he said, adding that Tehran has found ways to circumvent them.

“We have unofficial or unconventional sales, all of which are secret, because if they were made known, America would have immediately blocked them,” he explained.

“When all conventional means for selling oil are blocked, selling through unconventional means gets more difficult, as well,” he stressed, noting that Iran will not give up in this economic war waged against it.

Zanganeh also pointed out that his country is not planning to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) despite being treated like an enemy by some fellow members.

“Iran has no plans to leave OPEC...and regrets that some members of OPEC have turned this organization into a political forum for confronting two founding members of OPEC, meaning Iran and Venezuela,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

“Currently, if a vessel moves towards Iranian ports, it will be subject to sanctions from other countries’ ports,” he said, revealing the challenges facing the circumvention process.

According to Zanganeh, Iran's Oil Ministry receives 10 orders a day, 70 percent of which are “not real,” referring to attempts to obtain information on means through which Iran sells its oil, transfers funds, and circumvents sanctions.

He said the previous sanctions were under UN supervision, but the current ones are monitored by the United States alone.

In the new rounds of sanctions, he said, Washington has added Iran's natural gas condensates to the list while sanctions on shipping and banking, compared with the last round, have intensified.