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The U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iranian entities, this time including the Petroleum Ministry, the National Iranian Oil Company, and the National Iranian Tanker Company.
These were sanctioned for “their financial support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF),” according to a Treasury statement.
Senior NIOC and NITC personnel have worked closely with Rostam Ghasemi, a senior IRGC-QF official and former Minister of Petroleum who was designated in 2019, and who has assumed a portion of former IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani’s role in facilitating shipments of oil and petroleum products for the financial benefit of the IRGC-QF,” the Treasury Department went on to say.
“OFAC is also designating multiple entities and individuals associated with the Ministry of Petroleum, NIOC, and NITC, including front companies, subsidiaries, and senior executives. In addition, OFAC is designating four persons involved in the recent sale of Iranian gasoline to the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela.”
The United States has been trying to tighten the noose around Iran the way it does in Venezuela but Iran continues exporting oil like its sanction buddy from South America. In fact, it is exporting a lot more than the Treasury Department has calculated, using ship-to-ship transfers at sea to conceal the origin of the oil.
Last month, Iranian oil exports hit the highest in 18 months, averaging 1.5 million bpd, according to data from TankerTrakers.com.
In response to the announcement of the latest round of sanctions, Iran’s Petroleum Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, wrote on Twitter that they are the latest attempt by the U.S. to bring Iran’s oil export to zero but that this would not happen.
“Imposition of sanctions on me and my colleagues is a passive reaction to the failure of Washington's policy of reducing [Iran's] crude oil exports to zero. The era of unilateralism is over in the world. Iran's oil industry will not be hamstrung,” Zanganeh wrote, adding he had no assets outside of the country that could make him vulnerable to the sanctions.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif admitted openly that Iran has perfected the art of evading US sanctions. It has been very successful in exporting its crude to the world to the tune of 1.5 million barrels a day (mbd) or 71% of its pre-sanctions level.
Furthermore, Iran is also exporting unprecedented volumes of petroleum products. And yet, the US continues to delude itself by claiming that the sanctions have been so successful at crippling Iran’s oil sector.
The United States has been trying to tighten the noose around Iran the way it does in Venezuela but Iran continues exporting oil like its sanction buddy from South America. Venezuelan crude oil exports have been on the rise for the last four months hitting 690,000 b/d in September.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London