According to latest reports on Iran’s oil sales, the Islamic Republic is currently exporting the highest amount of crude in almost five years despite US crippling sanctions against Iran’s oil industry.
In a newly carried-out report published this Friday, the Oil Price News Website announced that despite all the crippling sanctions imposed by the US against Iran’s oil industry, the Islamic Republic is currently shipping the highest amount of crude in years. This, as the report noted, is the highest level since the US unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on the country back in 2018.
However, Iran’s oil exports have doubled since last year, reaching from 800 thousand in May 2022 to1.6 million barrels a day in May 2023, according to the report.
Giving details about the consultants, shipping data, and a source familiar with the matter, the report also noted that most of Iran’s oil has been exported to China, Syria and Venezuela during the last year. But Iran’s oil customers are not limited to the above countries only, as several European countries such as Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria also bought oil from Iran.
Good to mention that before the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran’s oil sales in 2018, the country could export nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. Also, according to reports by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Iran has now the capacity to produce more than 3 million barrels of oil every day, which accounts for about 3 per cent of global supply and would also be the highest since 2018.
The formal failure of US maximum pressure policy against Iran
Back in May 2018, the US then-President Donald Trump withdrew his country of the nuclear deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the aim of limiting Iran’s oil exports.
“President Donald J. Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May,” the White House said in a statement then, adding that the decision “is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.” At the time, the Trump administration granted six-month waivers to countries that were still allowed to continue importing limited quantities of crude oil from Iran.
The United States was one of seven countries in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement struck by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015. Aside from Iran, the other countries are China, France, Germany, Russia and Britain. Friday report, however, showed very clearly that Trump’s efforts to contain Iran’s oil sales in the form of launching a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic has failed.
Trump’s approach against Iran was based on misperceptions
The approach that the Trump administration pursued against Iran was indeed a result of two critical misperceptions in Washington. First, Trump believed that tightening sanctions against Iran would very soon work out and bring Tehran to the negotiating table for concluding a better deal than the JCPOA.
However, immediately after Trump pulled out the US of the nuclear deal, Iran responded by expanding its nuclear activities. In fact, Tehran began to methodically break its JCPOA obligations in mid-2019 once it realized that because of “maximum pressure” it would receive none of the economic dividends it had expected from the agreement.
And the second misperception was that Trump had estimated mounting economic costs would lead the officials in Tehran to give concessions, or at least blunt the country’s ability to project power in the region. Instead, Iran raised its regional military profile, expanded relations with regional countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and tightened its ties with great powers including Russia and China.